Mon, 18 Jan 2021

New Delhi [India], November 28 (ANI): The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued a notice seeking a comprehensive report from the Secretary, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment over deaths across the country due to manholes, sewers, and potholes.

The NHRC, in its order, observed that compensation and conviction can only be a consolation, but cannot be a substitute for a human life lost for no cause. It is quite regrettable that despite so much progress made in the field of Science and Technology and we still are dependent upon manually cleaning the sewage system, the Commission noted.

The Commission then directed the Chairman of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to file a detailed report on the possibility of use of any of the laboratories to ensure an affordable system or solution.

This prompt action can be taken to protect the lives of innocent pedestrians or sewage workers, the Commission said while adjudicating on a six-year-old petition filed by Supreme Court lawyer and human rights activist Radhakanta Tripathy.

In his plea, Tripathy had raised the issue of accidental deaths by people falling in manholes, while cleaning sewages, or falling due to potholes.

Even after seven and half decades of independence, with the chain of technical and scientific institutions the country has, the NHRC said that it feels necessary steps have not been taken by the concerned authorities for the permanent solution of the problem.

Giving specific reference to the death of Bablu Valmiki, the plea said that a cleaner at an ESI hospital in Noida died after entering a manhole to clean it. Shyamveer, a nearby fruit-seller, then entered the manhole in order to rescue Valmiki, who also died in February 2014.

Tripathy alleged that every year a number of persons fall into the open manholes and due to potholes. People from the lowest strata of the society lose their lives while engaged in cleaning of the sewage system, manhole, drainage and sewer line, the plea said.

Citing these cases are gross human rights violations, Tripathy sought stringent action against the errant officials and heavy compensation to the deceased. (ANI)

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