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Pitiful plight of scavengers highlighted

Pitiful plight of scavengers highlighted
Highlights

The Basthi Vikas Manch (BVM) on Tuesday corroborated its stand against the inhuman practice of manual scavenging at a meeting held at Sundarayya Vignana Kendram, Baghlingmapally, on Tuesday. Issues resulting from the pitiful working conditions of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation’s (GHMC) sanitary workers and manual scavengers that resulted in the deaths of a few staff members were redressed.

The Basthi Vikas Manch (BVM) on Tuesday corroborated its stand against the inhuman practice of manual scavenging at a meeting held at Sundarayya Vignana Kendram, Baghlingmapally, on Tuesday. Issues resulting from the pitiful working conditions of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation’s (GHMC) sanitary workers and manual scavengers that resulted in the deaths of a few staff members were redressed.

Bezwada Wilson, national convener of Safai Karamchari Aandolan, said, “The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Bill, 2013, was aimed at amending and replacing the existing Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993, had remained as a dead letter. The Bill prohibits the employment of scavengers, the manual cleaning of sewers and septic tanks without protective equipment and the construction of insanitary latrines. But the Bill’s implementation has been on the backburner.”

Bezwada Wilson addressing the scavengers

“A central monitoring committee will be formed to oversee the law’s implementation, banning employment of people for manual scavenging and cleaning of septic tanks. The bill also seeks to rehabilitate manual scavengers with one-time cash assistance and provide for alternative employment. The bill has higher penalties and stiff provisions for people who violate the law,” Wilson added.

Wilson pointed out that not even a single FIR was filed for violating the 1993 Act in the two decades since its inception. BVM chief advisor Dr Jasveen Jairath said that the Supreme Court had directed all the States to abolish manual scavenging and take steps for rehabilitation of such workers last year.

She added that the GHMC had paid only Rs 50,000 each to the victim families violating the guidelines of the Supreme Court and urged the authorities to pay Rs 10 lakh to each family and provide alternative employment according to their eligibility and choice for their survival. The programme was attended by 200 members consisting of Basthi Vikas March and GHMC sanitary workers, manual scavengers including 8 families members of victims who died as manual scavengers while discharging their duties.

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