Court hikes compensation for sewer workers, pulls up civic agencies

April 21st, 2009 - 9:52 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, April 21 (IANS) Giving relief to the families of labourers who die unnoticed inside sewers while cleaning them, the Delhi High Court Tuesday hiked the compensation in case of death from Rs.100,000 to Rs.250,000 and also slapped a contempt notice on civic body officials for not acting on its order to ensure the workers’ safety.
The court issued contempt notice to the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) Chief Executive Officer and Vice-Chairman of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) for their failure to comply with the court’s previous directive to ensure the safety of contract labourers who die or fall sick after inhaling poisonous fumes while cleaning sewers.

The court also issued notice to the Delhi State Industrial Development Corporation (DSIDC) and sought reply by May 28 on its failure to comply with the court’s directions.

A division bench headed by Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah hiked the compensation amount to Rs.250,000 to families in case of death and Rs.50,000 each for injuries.

In August last year, the bench had issued a slew of directions to DJB and other public authorities to provide protection gear to sewer workers and said they were entitled to statutory benefits like provident fund, gratuity and bonus.

The bench had added that free medical treatment should be provided to sewer workers by DJB and other authorities, and in case of illness, neither DJB nor any contractor who had engaged them would terminate their services.

The bench was hearing a public interest petition filed by the National Campaign for Dignity and Rights, an NGO that alleged that the DJB had failed to comply with the court’s direction to provide adequate safety measures for the sewer workers.

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