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May 23, 2024
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“NHRC issues notice to Bihar officials over death of sanitation workers”

PATNA: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued a notice to the Bihar Chief Secretary, Patna SSP, and Municipal Corporation Commissioner over the reported death of two sanitation workers while cleaning drainage in the Transport Nagar area in Patna, Bihar, on April 11th. The workers were reportedly ill-equipped and not provided with any safety gear or protective equipment.

According to reports, the two workers had entered the drainage system without any protective gear or safety measures, and soon after they fell unconscious. Their colleagues who were also working on the site raised the alarm and called for help. However, it was too late for the two workers, who were declared dead upon arrival at the hospital.

The NHRC has taken note of this incident and issued a notice to the Bihar Chief Secretary, Patna SSP, and Municipal Corporation Commissioner, calling for a detailed report on the incident. The commission has also asked for information on the measures taken to ensure the safety of sanitation workers while they perform their duties.

According to NHRC, “The Commission has observed that the contents of a media report, if true, amount to a serious issue of violation of the right to life of the victims. Accordingly, it has issued notices to the Chief Secretary, Government of Bihar, the Senior Superintendent of Police, Patna, and the Commissioner, Patna Municipal Corporation calling for a detailed report in the matter within six weeks. It is expected to include the status of the FIR registered in the matter, departmental action taken against the responsible persons, and the relief and rehabilitation provided to the aggrieved families by the state authorities”.

The Commission has been consistently advocating a complete ban on the activities of hazardous cleaning without adequate and proper protective/safety gear or equipment. It has also issued an Advisory to the centre, states, and local authorities in this regard on 24th September, 2021, it added.

Sanitation workers are among the most vulnerable groups of workers, often working in hazardous and unsanitary conditions with little or no safety equipment. The NHRC has emphasized the need to protect the rights of sanitation workers and ensure that they are provided with adequate safety gear and protective equipment while performing their duties.

The incident has also raised concerns about the safety measures and working conditions of sanitation workers in Bihar. The NHRC has called for a comprehensive review of the safety measures in place to protect sanitation workers in the state and to ensure that they are adequately equipped and trained to perform their duties.

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