A 24-year-old Tamil Nadu government employee died on Saturday after she slipped and fell into an unclosed septic tank in an under-construction building. The deceased, identified as Saranya, worked at a government office near Kanchipuram district's Kalakattur.
Since the government depot she worked at had no toilets for women, Saranya, like her other female colleagues, was forced to go out of the office and look for nearby under-construction houses and buildings to relieve herself.
The incident came into light after her women colleagues went looking for her after she didn't return to the office for half-an-hour. They found her footwear floating in the septic tank and then pulled her out. The colleagues immediately rushed her to the Kanchipuram Government Hospital, but was declared brought dead, reported The News Minute.
A tin sheet was being used to cover the tank, which Saranya removed to squat and relieve herself.
Speaking to the media, Saranya's father, Shanmugham, informed that she cleared Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission (TNPSC) and joined the service in March last year. He said that the victim frequently went out along with a few other women colleagues, but never thought that it would turn out to be fatal.
"My daughter aspired to clear group 1 exams and become an IAS officer. She was supposed to write the exams next year, but her dreams are shattered," her father was quoted as saying.
The deceased's mother said that her daughter informed them many times about the office having no provisions of women toilets and that she was struggling to manage.
Expressing his grief over the incident, Agriculture Secretary Gagandeep Singh Bedi called the incident an unfortunate event and assured of taking cognizance of the matter. Bedi said that although the majority of the government agricultural depots in the state are managed by Block development Officers, the Kalakattur one was one of the few independent depots.
Post the incident, the District Collector has sent a report to the state government to take necessary steps and provide the family with mandatory aid.
However, Bedi claimed that the government had instructed the concerned officers to check the sanitation facilities in various depots, and directed them to provide the amenities wherever unavailable.
According to the report the Tamil Nadu government has allotted ₹90 crores for renovation purposes, including the old depots, but the unfortunate incident speaks volume of the glaring error.
The family has asked for compensation and a government job for one member. The family has also requested the government to construct toilets for women in government buildings.