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Metro Water bans cleaning of septic tanks by pvt operators
In a move to prevent asphyxiation deaths while cleaning septic tanks, the Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (Metro Water) issued an order prohibiting individuals and contractors from undertaking the work.
Those violating the order would face action under laws on manual scavenging and prevention of atrocities against SC/ST, it warned.
“Residents in the city should not clean the blockage in sewer lines and other related works by themselves or by appointing contractors. All cleaning and maintenance works related to sewer lines should be informed to the Metro Water and works should be done only through the board,” the utility said in a press release.
Explaining the reason for issuing the order, a Metro Water official said it was done to prevent death of workers while cleaning sewer lines.
It also warned house owners and tenants, owners of private organisations, hotels, lodges, commercial establishments, theatres and contractors of action if any worker dies due to asphyxiation while cleaning sewer lines. As per a Supreme Court order, owners should provide Rs 10 lakh compensation to the family of the deceased.
Also, action would be taken under the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013, Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2015 (if the worker belongs to SC or ST), apart from Section 304(A) of Indian Penal Code.
Metro Water directed residents to contact the head office number (4567 4567) that functions 24x7 to alert sewer blocks in houses or in public places. They can also contact 14420 number to complain about unsafe cleaning of sewer lines.
“Metro Water does not allow the workers to enter the sewer lines for cleaning, and safety equipment are provided to the workers,” the release added.