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

Mystery around Gujarat PSU 'transfer' of Rs 250 crore to Canadian firm Karnalyte

By AK Luke, IAS (Retd)*
While returning from a Board meeting of the Oil India Limited (OIL) in Ahmedabad some time in 2012, two officers of the Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd (GSFC), Nanavaty and Patel,  saw me off at the airport. They said they were proceeding to Canada in connection with a project GSFC had entered into with a company there. As we were running late, I hastily wished them the best.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad 'declared' two-nation theory in 1937, Jinnah followed 3 years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

Indians have made 119 nations their ‘karma bhumi’: US-based Hindu NGO tells Rupani

Counterview Desk
In a stinging letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, the US-based Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), referring to the report citing his justification for the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) – that “while Muslims can choose any one of the 150 Islamic countries in the world (for residence), India is the only country for Hindus" – has said, he should remember, Hindus have made several countries, including USA, their home.

J&K continues to be haunted, as parts of India 'degenerate' into quasi-Kashmir situation

By Rajendran Narayanan*, Sandeep Pandey**
“Jab har saans mein bandook dikhe toh baccha kaise bekhauf rahe?” (How can a child be fearless when she sees a gun in every breath?) remarked Anwar, a gardener from Srinagar, when asked about the situation in Kashmir. On November 30, 2019, a walk through an iron gate in a quiet neighbourhood of Srinagar took us inside a public school. It was 11 am when typically every school is abuzz with activity. Not here though.

Tata Mundra's possible closure? Power ministry's 'pressure tactic' on consumer states

By Bharat Patel*
Tata power has announced to the Union Ministry of Power that Tata Power may be forced to stop operating  its imported coal-based Mundra Ultra-Mega Power Project (UMPP) after February, 2020. It is not only unfortunate but also criminal that irreversible damage has been caused to the fragile ecosystem of Mundra coast for a project that will have a running life of only seven years.

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.

Population control? 10% Indian couples want to delay next pregnancy, but fail

Counterview Desk
Shireen Jejeebhoy, director at Aksha Centre for Equity and Wellbeing, previously senior associate at the Population Council, India, argues that the debate on the country's population was fuelled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day address to the nation, where he drew attention to “concern” about the challenges posed by this ‘exploding’ population growth, needs to centre around the promotion of rights and education, instead of the language of explosion and the threat of coercion that this term implies.

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam*
In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

Kerala governor turned History Congress into political arena, 'insulted' Prof Irfan Habib

Counterview Desk
In a signed statement, office bearers of the Aligarh Society of History and Archaeology (ASHA), Prof Syed Ali Nadeem Rezavi (president), Prof Jabir Raza (vice-president), Prof Manvendra Kumar Pundhir (secretary) and Prof Farhat Hasan (joint secretary), have said that Kerala governor Arif Mohammad Khan had sought to insult veteran historian Prof Irfan Habib, 88, at the 80th session of the Indian History Congress, even as turning it into his “political arena”.