The late implementation of the Supreme Court ruling banning manual scavenging has resulted in yet another tragedy with four people dying after inhaling poisonous gases when they were working in drainage pits and sewage tank of a private hotel chain at Karapakkam near Thoraipakkam in South Chennai on Tuesday morning.
The four were hired by the private hotel chain to clean its sewage tanks and pits. Kancheepuram District administration officials denied any responsibility saying that it was the hotel that had hired the four labourers, and not the state.
An investigation is underway, but so far no arrests have been made.
The fire department personnel had taken out the four bodies and they will be sent to the government hospital at Royapetta for a post mortem examination.
The practice of manual scavenging is officially banned, but it is still frequently practiced.
The Supreme Court had in a 2014 direction ordered all state governments to ban manual scavenging.
So far nearly 200 people have lost their lives when cleaning sewage pits and drainage systems in Tamil Nadu.