Skip to main content

Contract workers of a small Gujarat town provide strong proof of prevalence of manual scavenging

Proof of prevalence of manual scavenging in Dudhrej
By Our Representative
In a sharp rebuttal to the Gujarat government’s dogged refusal to admit the prevalence of manual scavenging in the state, the Safai Kamdar Hak Rakshak Samiti, Surendranagar, has come up with documentary evidence to demand the the despicable practice, which Mahatma Gandhi called “shame of the nation.” Releasing photographs showing existence of manual scavenging under Dudhrej municipality, the organization, associated with Ahmedabad-based Dalit rights NGO Navsarjan Trust, has demanded from the district collector, Surendranagar, to take “urgent steps to stop the practice and employ them in respectable jobs.”
“Even today, 66 years after Independence, the municipality has manual scavengers who are forced to manually clean up human excreta at several public places. This is disgraceful. The municipality officials who force the workers to do this should be punished”, the representation to said, adding, “The practice is violation of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013, as also the earlier law, Employment of Manual Scavenging and Construction of Dry Latrines Prohibition) Act, 1993. Those employed in the job should be rehabilitated.”
The representation said, all manual scavengers are working on contract and there is no regular procedure in place to provide them pay slips. “We demand that pay of all manual scavengers be straight deposited in a nationalized bank, where our accounts should be opened, and till the amount is deposited, they should not be provided with pay slips. Worse, the manual scavengers working in the sanitation department of the municipality are not provided with any slip of employees’ provident fund, which is deducted from their wage bill. They should be provided with the proof”, the representation said.
The representation said, all manual scavengers should be covered under minimum wages Act, adding, “Currently the situation is that, there is no fixed date on which they are paid their wages. They have no job cards. They are not provided with necessary equipment such as a simple broom or a drum to clean up dirt. They must spend from their own pocket to buy all this. Nor are those working to clean up gutters provided with any safety equipment. They are not covered under any insurance scheme, hence they are forced to fend for themselves if they are taken seriously ill or become victims of accident.”
Asking the Gujarat government give them regular jobs along with all the benefits which are given to all government servants, including gratuity and bonus, the representation takes particularly strong exception to the way women manual scavengers are treated. “They are called by using abusive words. They are regularly threatened they would be pushed out of job. Those responsible should be punished under the anti-atrocities law as also the law prohibiting harassment of women at workplaces”, the representation said.
Other demands include removal of word “Bhangi” and “Harijan”, which the representation believes are derogatory. “These words are still in use at several places, especially in schools. We should, instead, be officially addressed Hindu Valmiki”, the representation insisted, adding, “This is in accordance with the Gujarat government resolutions of 1998 and 1999. This should be followed meticulously.” In all, around 275 manual scavengers are employed on contract by different wings of the municipality.

Comments

TRENDING

IMA vs Ramdev: Why what's good or bad for goose should be good or bad for gander

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD* Baba Ramdev and his associate Balkrishna faced the wrath of the Supreme Court for their propaganda about their Ayurvedic products and belittling mainstream medicine. Baba Ramdev had to apologize in court. His apology was not accepted and he may face the contempt of court with harsher punishment. The Supreme Court acted on a public interest litigation (PIL) moved by the Indian Medical Association (IMA).

Women innovators on simple, revolutionary alternate solutions for water problems

By Proshakha Maitra, Mansee Bal Bhargava* The detrimental effects of uncontrolled population rise and accelerated change in the global climate have posed tremendous pressure on the water and sanitation. This calls all stakeholders, from both developed and developing nations, to improve their resilience and to instigate sustainability. It is more crucial than ever to optimise the use of the resources we have on hand since the world population is projected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050.

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

Alleged killing of another Bangladesh youth inside Indian territory: NHRC inquiry sought

By Kirity Roy* There was yet another incident of the killing of a Bangladeshi youth by the Border Security Force personnel attached with ‘Barthar’ BOP of ‘G’ Company of 75 BSF Battalion. In last five years several incidents of killings happened under this police station’s jurisdiction and the cases will get the award as “Not Guilty” as usual.

Modi model, Hindutva icon 'justified' alliance with Muslim League before Independence

By Shamsul Islam*  Our PM describes himself as ‘Hindu’ nationalist and member of RSS. He proudly shares the fact that he was groomed to be a political leader by one of the two fathers of the Hindutva politics, MS Golwalkar (the other being VD Savarkar) and given the task of establishing Hindutva polity in India after eradicating secularism.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Crusader for people’s causes, this Hollywood actor entered 'unexplored zones' in US

By Harsh Thakor*  Marlon Brando on April 3rd completes his birth centenary. He perished in 2004, on July 1, aged 80 years. Arguably in Hollywood Brando penetrated sensitivity and versatility at an unparalleled scale and discovered new horizons or explored path breaking zones in acting.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Insider plot to kill Deendayal Upadhyay? What RSS pracharak Balraj Madhok said

By Shamsul Islam*  Balraj Madhok's died on May 2, 2016 ending an era of old guards of Hindutva politics. A senior RSS pracharak till his death was paid handsome tributes by the RSS leaders including PM Modi, himself a senior pracharak, for being a "stalwart leader of Jan Sangh. Balraj Madhok ji's ideological commitment was strong and clarity of thought immense. He was selflessly devoted to the nation and society. I had the good fortune of interacting with Balraj Madhok ji on many occasions". The RSS also issued a formal condolence message signed by the Supremo Mohan Bhagwat on behalf of all swayamsevaks, referring to his contribution of commitment to nation and society. He was a leading RSS pracharak on whom his organization relied for initiating prominent Hindutva projects. But today nobody in the RSS-BJP top hierarchy remembers/talks about Madhok as he was an insider chronicler of the immense degeneration which was spreading as an epidemic in the high echelons of th

India 'neglecting' air, water, vegetation as its world air quality index ranking decelerates

By Dr Gurinder Kaur* The World Air Quality Report 2023 , prepared by a Swiss technology company IQAir, was released on 19 March 2024. According to this report, India is the third most polluted country in the world after Bangladesh and Pakistan, and the capital of India, New Delhi, is the most polluted capital in the world.