Skip to main content

Union leaders sacked for protesting "illegal" practice of manual scavenging in small Gujarat town

By Our Representative
Manual scavengers of a small town in Gujarat, Dudhrej of Surendranagar district, are on warpath. Following the refusal of the state government authorities to heed to their demand to regularize them, the scavengers – who mostly work as contractors workers under the local municipality – took out their maiden rally in Surendranagar to protest against the “discriminatory attitude” of the authorities. They allege, instead of rehabilitating them in respectable jobs, they are forced to manually clean up human excreta, or else quit the job.
In a written representation following the rally to the district collector, Surendranagar, the Safai Kamdar Hak Rakshak Samiti, which is fighting for their rights, has said, “Instead of heeding to the demands of the manual scavengers, the chief officer of the municipality has sacked one of our chief leaders, Hireshbhai Bariya, as also several others who had sought to protest against the despicable practice.” It adds, “These workers were removed unceremoniously. They were not even given a written order. They were told orally not to come for work from the next day.”
The representation said, apart from rehabilitating them from manual scavenging, one of their major demands was that the contractor, who employs them under the banner of Navalgadh Majur Sahkari Mandali, should hand pay them in accordance with the minimum wages applicable for the work they were made to do. The representation said, the minimum wages payable to them is Rs 230.40 per day, which they are not being paid.
“Instead of complying by minimum wages law, the contractor has refused to deposit with  authorities the employees’ provident fund (EPF) amount deducted from wages. We have been demanding to hand over EPF slips suggesting how much of EPF has been deposited, but the contractor refused to give any details”, said Baldevbhai Rathod, who signed the representation on behalf of the manual scavengers. He adds, “This is happening despite the fact they have been working without break under the municipality’s fire station.”
“The chief officer, during a Lok Darbar with us, agreed to ensure that minimum wages are paid to us, and also that our EPF amount would be deposited and we would get the receipts. Instead, however, he has sought to sack manual scavengers who were in the forefront of the demand, suspecting that they were behind information being given to the media”, Rathod said, adding, “it is a clear case of corruption, which should be investigated into.”
Putting up a list of demands, the representation insisted that the payment of their wages should be straight deposited in the nationalized banks, the difference caused by the failure to implement the minimum wages should be paid to them with effect from the day on which they had begun to work on contract, and FIR should be lodged against the contractor, who has not deposited their EPF money with the authorities.
The representation further asked the district collector to institute a case under the anti-atrocities Act against those who were forced them to clean up manual excreta, lying next to public toilets. “The new law, Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act 2013 should be applied on those responsible”, it said. The Act prohibits manual scavenging, manual cleaning of septic tanks and sewers and unsanitary toilets. 

Comments

TRENDING

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

"Misleading" satellite images being shared on Balakot surgical strike on Jaish camp

By Dr Vinay Kate*
With every passing day more questions are being raised about the surgical strike India did in Balakot as a response to Pulwama attacks. So far the Indian media has claimed mass casulaty of 300+ terrorists of Jaish-e-Mohammad in this surgical strike, but there is hardly any report from foreign media about the same.

Extreme repression, corporate loot, cultural genocide "characterise" India's tribal belt

Counterview Desk
As Lok Sabha polls approach, there is considerable ferment in one section of the population -- India's Adivasis, forming about 8.6 per cent of India's population. Things became particularly critical following the February 14, 2019 Supreme Court order, allegedly seeking to evict lakhs of tribals from their forest lands.

Industry in India "barely growing", export growth 0%, whither moral anchors?

Counterview Desk
In a sharp critique of the Modi government, the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A), one of world renowned economist Prof Kaushik Basu, who is Professor of Economics and Carl Marks Professor of International Studies at Cornell University, has told students at the IIM-A’s 54th Annual Convocation on March 16, 2019 that they have a “special responsibility” on their shoulders, “the responsibility to reject narrow sectarianism, uphold scientific thinking, openness to new ideas, and freedom of speech.”

Gujarat model? Industrial effluents "invade" borewells, discharge coloured water in farms

By Rajiv Shah
In a major embarrassment for Gujarat model, of the 21 samples taken by officials of the state government's environmental watchdog Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) in two villages of Vadodara district and analyzed by its laboratory in Gandhinagar, the state capital, to find out pollution level in groundwater, 16 were assessed as highly contaminated – these were, in fact, found to be discharging reddish, brownish, reddish, or yellowish water.

Refugees as criminals? US govt report blames Amit Shah for calling Bangladeshis termites

Counterview Desk
The chapter “Freedom of Movement” of the US State Department’s “India 2018 Human Rights Report”, released recently, has criticized BJP chief Amit Shah for terming alleged Bangladeshis who may be in Assam as “termites”, because their names were struck down from the list of National Register of Citizens, under preparation in the state.
Pointing out that four million residents were excluded from Assam’s final draft list, leading to “uncertainty over the status of these individuals, many of whose families had lived in the state for several generations”, the report regrets, the Indian law does not even contain the term “refugee,” treating refugees like Rohingiyas as “any other foreigners.”
“Undocumented physical presence in the country is a criminal offense. Persons without documentation were vulnerable to forced returns and abuse”, the report says.
Text of the Freedom of Movement chapter: The law provides for freedom of internal movement, foreign travel, emigration, a…

Congress would win just 9 of 26 Lok Sabha seats: Gujarat Assembly segment-wise analysis

By Rajiv Shah
Even as the Congress plans its first working committee meet in Gujarat on February 28 after an almost 58 year gap, there is reason to wonder what is in store for India’s grand old party in a state which has been long been a BJP bastion – in fact ever since mid-1990s. Ahead of the then assembly polls in late 2012, talking with me, a senior Gujarat Congress leader, currently Rajya Sabha MP, frankly said he saw no reason why Congress would win.

"Pro-corporate" Supreme Court order on FRA would further marginalize Adivasis

By VS Roy David, JP Raju*
For millions of Adivasis and other traditional forest dwellers February 13, 2019 will go down in history as the day of apocalypse. This is like the proverbial Black Friday where millions of most marginalized people of India were ordered by malicious anti-people draconian Supreme Court order depriving them the life and livelihood by evicting them from their habitats.

Financial inclusion? Not micro-loans; India's poor "need" investment in health, education

By Moin Qazi*
India has grown into a global powerhouse. Its economy is soaring but the picture on the ground is still quite arid. The green shoots that you see are only a patch of its landscape. Most Indians are hapless victims of inequity. India is one country where intense poverty abounds in the shadow of immense wealth.

India, Pakistan told to eliminate nuclear weapons: N-war "would kill" 2 billion

Counterview Desk
The International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), a non-partisan federation of national medical organizations in 64 countries, representing tens of thousands of doctors, medical students, other health workers, and concerned citizens, claiming to share the common goal of creating a more peaceful and secure world freed from the threat of nuclear annihilation, has warned that “an unprecedented global catastrophe” awaits the globe against the backdrop of warmongering in India and Pakistan.