The National Human Rights Commission said on Thursday that it has sought a detailed report from Telangana authorities on the deaths of at least 10 women workers in a reported mudslide in the state’s Narayanpet district on Wednesday.
The women were working under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee programme in the Marikal block to dig a rain collection pit, ANI reported. A Hindustan Times report on Wednesday, citing Marikal police, said there were 100 workers at the site during the mound collapse. Some also sustained injuries and are being treated at a local hospital, the report said.
The National Human Rights Commission said it had taken suo motu cognisance of a media report on the tragedy. In a statement on its website, it said that “negligence on the part of the contractor and the department concerned cannot be ruled out”.
The human rights body has asked the chief secretary of Telangana to turn in a report within four weeks on the incident, the action taken against those responsible, rehabilitation measures for families of the victims and the status of safety measures at sites involving deep digging work.
“The Commission has observed that the contents of the news report, if true, raise a serious issue of violation of the right,” it said. “The deceased, no doubt, belonged to the poorest strata. It seems that neither any precaution was taken by the authorities nor any kind of help was available on the spot. Had some safety measures been taken, ten human lives could perhaps be saved.”
Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao described the incident as unfortunate and directed local authorities to provide necessary help to the injured and the families of the victims, reported PTI.
Citing an eyewitness account, PTI reported that the bodies had been buried under four to six feet of mud. “The fellow workers of the victims reportedly tried to rescue them but by the time they cleared about five feet of mud and pulled them out, all of them were dead,” the Commission said.