The National Human Rights Commission has issued notice to the Tamil Nadu government over the reported death of three college girls in a road accident involving a water tanker in Guindy area in Chennai. The Commission has observed that the contents of the news report are indicative of "callous and sheer insensitive attitude of the transport department, police as well as Chennai Metro Water Supply and Sewerage Board". The notice has been sent to the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police of the state, and the NHRC has sought detailed reports on this matter within four weeks, the Commission said in a statement today. The Commission has taken suo motu cognisance of the media report, according to which three girls died and four got injured in the road accident caused by a water tanker in Guindy area. Reportedly, this was not the only accident caused by a water tanker lorry as the provisions of cancelling driving licences in case of accidents under the Motor Vehicle Act are "not being strictly implemented" by the authorities in the state. The Chief Secretary and the DGP have "also been asked to inform about the norms relating to fitness of the water tanker lorries, number of trips allowed, number of persons died in such accidents during last five years and preventive action taken against the erring drivers and the other officials of the department concerned." "The Commission would also like to know what steps are proposed to be taken to prevent the recurrence in future," the statement said. "It is the failure of the State Transport Authority to implement and enforce the rules and regulations, as also the apathy of police officials and other administrative officers that results in exposing the innocent citizens to all kinds of risks on road," it added. The safety of citizens should be the primary concern of the government. The state government cannot escape its obligation to protect the lives of its citizens from such "preventable gruesome mishaps". According to the report, the number of water lorries plying in the state is around 500 which are hired during the time of scarcity of water.
Nearly 4,000 trips are made in a day by these vehicles. Officials of the Chennai Metro Water have reportedly said that the vehicles involved in the accidents are not allowed to ply and their works orders were also cancelled. Area engineers have been deployed at the filling points, to check leakage and necessary documents regarding fitness and insurance before the trip is made, it said.
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