NHRC notice to the Government of Telangana over reported death of 10 MGNREGA women workers in Narayanpet district (11.04.2019)

New Delhi, 11th April, 2019

The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC has taken suo motu cognizance of a media report that at least 10 women working under the MGNREGA scheme died when an embankment caved in on them in Narayanpet district of Telangana.

The Commission has issued notice to the Chief Secretary, Government of Telangana to submit a detailed report of the tragic incident including action taken against guilty, relief and rehabilitation to the families of the victims and status of the safety measures at such sites where deep digging is conducted. Response is expected within four weeks.

The Commission has observed that the contents of the news report, if true, raise a serious issue of violation of the right. Poor villagers, who are not skilled workers and need a job to earn their livelihood, do opt to work under MGNREGA scheme. The deceased, no doubt, belonged to the poorest strata, the way, the embankment has collapsed and negligence on the part of the contractor and the department concerned cannot be ruled out. 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.

According to the media report, carried today on the 11th April, 2019, when the workers under MGNREGA were digging a canal in a village in Narayanpet district of Telangana. 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.