Skip to main content

Gujarat govt unwilling to pay heed to manual scavengers: Only 3 of 101 who died "qualified" as gutter workers

By Rajiv Shah
Latest information gathered by Dalit rights NGO Navsarjan Trust on the basis of a right to information (RTI) plea suggests that a total of 101 persons, mainly belonging to the Valmiki community, died in Gujarat as a result “accidental deaths” while working as safai karmacharis between 2005 and 2014. Out of this, in as many as 46 cases no compensation has been paid so far, while in rest of the 55 cases Rs 58 lakh was paid up. Significantly, the RTI reply suggests, only three of the 55 safai karmacharis who have  are been paid compensation were found to “qualify” themselves as having died while working as gutter workers in manhole.
The three who died due to asphyxiation and hence were paid Rs 2 lakh each, according to the RTI reply, were Sanjaybhai Rathod from Bhuj, Rameshbhai Solanki from Ahmedabad, and Ramanbhai Sonara from Ahmedabad. As for rest of the 52, they were paid just Rs 1 lakh each, as their death was considered “accidental”.
A recent Supreme Court order wants all state governments to identify all those who died while working in gutter since 1991, and pay them Rs 10 lakh each. It is not known if the Gujarat government will be ready to consider those “died accidentally” while working as safai karmacharis as manual scavengers and pay up Rs 10 lakh.
The RTI reply further shows that of the 46 who have not received any compensation, 15 are those whose applications were “rejected” because of various reasons.
The reasons include “delay in providing necessary documents” -- which need to be handed over to the insurance company – from five to 11 months in five cases, “natural death” in a couple of cases, failure to identify as manhole worker in a case, having received compensation under some other scheme in one case, and lack of evidence in rest of the cases.
In another 19 other cases in which the compensation has not been paid, the RTI reply suggests, the kin of the safai karmacharis who died failed to provide “sufficient documents, delaying payment.” The RTI reply has been signed by project consultant LV Maheshwari of the Gujarat Safai Kamdar Vikas Nigam (GSKVN), Gandhinagar, which happens to be a state government outfit.
In some of the cases the insurance company was “unable to decide” on whether to pay or not, while in others there was “failure” on the part of the kin to provide post mortem report, or forensic science laboratory report, or necessary bonds, or the case is pending in consumer court. Another 12 died more recently, in 2014, hence would be entitled to compensation later.
“All those whom the government says died due to accident met their fate due asphyxiation in the gutters”, said Navsarjan Trust’s Kirit Rathod, a senior activist, adding “These deaths suggest the Gujarat government is openly violating guidelines of the Gujarat High Court and the Supreme Court, which want proper care to be taken before sending workers in gutters.”

Comments

Jagdish Patel said…
There is no information on if the survivors filed claims under Employees Compensation Act and if so what happened to it? Why should workers depend on such welfare schemes when it is a right

TRENDING

Nirma varsity demand for higher fees 'illegal', violates Article 14: Letter to Gujarat HC

Counterview Desk
Students of Gujarat’s top private institute, Nirma University, situated in the outskirts of Ahmedabad, in a letter to the Chief Justice the state High Court, have complained that the authorities are demanding “full fees” from students, without taking into account the “disproportionate impact” the lockdown has on the livelihood of students and families.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

By Our Representative
Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book, "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Vulnerable to Covid-19, sharp rise in murder of Indian journalists during pandemic

By Nava Thakuria*
Vulnerability of working journalists in India is no way an alien issue as the populous country loses a number of working journalists to assailants as also medical emergencies. Even though there was only one casualty in the Indian media fraternity during the first half of 2020, who was targeted for journalistic work, India has begun witnessing an alarming number of media casualties during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Govt 'assures' Gujarat HC no action against MBBS students defying corona sahayak order

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government has assured the High Court that no action would be taken against Part-I and Part-II MBBS students of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC)-controlled NHL Medical College and LG Hospital and Medical College. The assurance follows the direction by Justice SH Vora to the State government not to prosecute or initiate action against the students who were defying the college authorities’ order to work as corona sahayaks (helpers).

Renounced US citizenship to serve workers, tribals, Sudha Bharadwaj 'odiously' in jail

By Atul, Sandeep Pandey*
Professor Sudha Bharadwaj has been in jail since August 2018. She was taken into police custody on August 26, 2018 on suspicion of being involved in Maoist terror activities after Republic TV claimed that she had allegedly written a letter to Maoists and was conspiring to create public disorder and unrest in India.

Plant organic, eat fresh: Emlen Bage's journey from migrant labour to agri-entrepreneur

By Chandrashekar and Kriti*
Who is a farmer? Type this question in the google search and check out the images? You can see men thronging the screen. This is the popular perception around the globe. Well one can understand how difficult it would be for a woman to defy this perception.

High youth unemployment: India 'fails' to take advantage of demographic dividend

By Varun Kumar
As coronavirus pandemic continues amplifying challenges among youth with regard to employment opportunities, government policies have further resulted in economic slowdown, leading to mass unemployment and loss jobs. According to the International Labour Organisation report “Covid-19 and the World of Work” (May 27, 2020), around 94 percent of the world’s workers are living in countries with some sort of workplace closure measures in place.

Ex-official: Murmu, appointed as CAG, will 'surely' perform shradh of the institution

Counterview Desk
A former senior official of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), Shantanu Basu, in a Facebook comment in the wake of the appointment of GC Murmu, a Gujarat IAS cadre official of the 1985, has raised doubts about the independence of CAG following the Government of India move.

Dichotomy? US Hindutva groups oppose racism, mum on Modi's 'anti-minority' stance

By Our Representative
The Hindus for Human Rights (HHR), a US-based advocacy group, has noticed a major dichotomy between the stance taken by RSS’ US arm, Hindu Swayamsewak Sangh (HSS), expressing “shock” at the “painful killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others”, all of which suggest “the tragic tale of racial injustice” in US, and HSS’ “hatred” for India’s religious minorities and Dalits.