A day after Congress leaders visited Thuvavi village to meet the family members of four men who suffocated to death while cleaning a septic tank, BJP leaders from the city also paid a visit to the families on Monday. Seven people, including three staff members, suffocated to death in a septic tank outside a hotel in Dabhoi on June 15.
Vadodara city MLA Manisha Vakil, former Mayor Sunil Solanki and Dabhoi MLA Sailesh Mehta assured them of expediting the process of compensation. The procedure will take a day or two more and most likely the compensation will reach them by tomorrow (Tuesday) or the day after. Apart from the Rs 4 lakh compensation announced by the CM, they are also entitled to another Rs 8.25 lakh, so each family will get a total of Rs 12.25 lakh, Mehta said.
Reacting to the accusation by the Congress on BJP s lax attitude towards manual scavenging deaths in the state, he said, The incident happened on the premises of a private hotel and it is baseless to blame the government or the BJP for it. The men were hired for the job through a private contract between them… The hotel owner and contractor should be held responsible but the contractor also died in the accident. We have made sure that the families are provided with all the help they need.
The accused and owner of the hotel, Hasan Abbas, continues to be at large three days after the incident, even as three teams of Vadodara rural police are trying to trace him. The police has already dispatched teams to Mehsana and Bharuch where he owns residences, while another team is searching for him in the city.
Kalpesh Solanki, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Dabhoi Division, said, Our teams are actively looking for him. We are interrogating his close aides who can give us leads about his whereabouts.
Hasan was booked under IPC sections 304, relevant sections of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act.
Four persons who were hired to clean the tank, were first-time cleaners and agreed to do the task for Rs 500.