Skip to main content

Manhole deaths: Gujarat govt "evading" Rs 10 lakh compensation, departments busy passing the buck

By Our Representative
Is the Gujarat government evading a Supreme Court order of 2014 on payment of death compensation to as many as 152 manhole workers who died due to asphyxiation since 1993? It would seem so, if a recent note by Gujarat-based non-government organization (NGO), Janvikas, is any guide.
Prepared by senior activist Jitendra Rathod, the note says that Manav Garima Trust, a community organization of Valmikis in Ahmedbad, filed a right to information (RTI) plea on December 21, 2015 to find out what exactly has happened to death compensation.
Addressed to the Chief Secretary of Gujarat about “actions taken for awarding compensation and implementing mechanisms for provisions of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013”, the note says, “The responses under RTI Act are very disturbing as there is no clear roles and responsibility of any department of the Gujarat State.”
The note underlines, “Departments like Director of Municipality, Managing Director of Gujarat Safai Kamdar Vikas Nigam, Principal Secretary of Social Justice and Empowerment Department, Chief Secretary of Gujarat, Director of Scheduled Castes Welfare are forwarding letters to each other mentioning that implementation of the Act and awarding compensation on deaths of manhole workers does not come under their departments but it comes under other departments.”
The Manav Garima Trust has submitted to the Gujarat government a list of 152 manhole workers, who have died while cleaning drainage without any safety devices since 1993, and written to several departments insisting on compensation.
Letters alongside other details have gone to the Director of Municipalities, the Managing Director of the Gujarat Safai Kamdar Vikas Nigam, the Principal Secretary of Social Justice and Empowerment Department, and the Director of Scheduled Castes Welfare.
It also wrote the Gujarat Chief Minister and the Gujarat Chief Secretary on this.
Calling manual scavenging an “inhumane practice of manually removing/ handling/ cleaning human excreta and cleaning drainage without providing any safety measures to sweepers”, the note says, “The Supreme Court has given landmark judgment on March 27, 2014 in this regard.”
“The apex court directed the all state governments to identify the families of all persons who have died in sewerage work (manholes, septic tanks) since 1993 and award compensation of Rs 10 lakhs for each such death to the family members dependent on them”, the note says.
The Supreme Court barred “entering sewer lines without safety gears”, saying it should be “made a crime even in emergency situations.” For such deaths, it insisted, a compensation of Rs 10 lakh should be given to the family of the deceased.
It further said that all the state governments and union territories should “fully implement” death compensation, and “take appropriate action for non-implementation as well as violation of the provisions contained in the 2013 Act.”
“Despite the Act prohibiting the practice of manual scavenging and judgment of Supreme Court, practice of manual scavenging is rampant in Gujarat and especially in cities. There are around 200 spots where sweepers are forced to clean human excreta every day in Ahmedabad city”, the note points out.

Comments

Anonymous said…
This seems to be a problem all over India

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.

Mental health: India's 95% patients "deprived" of medical care, treatment gap 70%

By Moin Qazi*
Among the many challenges India faces, the most underappreciated is the ongoing mental health crisis. Mental illness is actually India’s ticking bomb. An estimated 56 million Indians suffer from depression, and 38 million from anxiety disorders. For those who suffer from mental illness, life can seem like a terrible prison from which there is no hope of escape; they are left forlorn and abandoned, stigmatized, shunned and misunderstood.

Modi model? "Refusal" to build Narmada's micro canals, keep Kutch dry; help industry

By Medha Patkar*
This is the latest photograph of the Kutch Branch Canal (KBC) of the Sardar Sarovar, as of April 8! What does it show, expose, and what memories do you recall? Is it dry or dead? Is it a canal or a carcass of the same?

Bill Gates "promoting" GMO, Bt cotton, like cartels that have roots in Hitler's Germany

By Our Representative
World-renowned environmental leader and ecologist Dr Vandana Shiva has expressed concern that Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft Corporation, has joined the bandwagon of “a poison cartel of three" – Monsanto and Bayer, Syngenta and ChemChina, Dow and DuPont – all of whom allegedly have “roots in Hitler’s Germany and finding chemicals to kill people”.

Indian talc products contain "contaminated" asbestos structures, can cause cancer: Study

Counterview Desk
A recent study, using polarizing light microscopy, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), electron diffraction, and X-ray analysis on multiple over-the-counter Indian talc products for the presence of asbestos, has concluded that large quantities of body talc products are likely to pose a public health risk for asbestos-related diseases, especially for the cancers related to asbestos exposure.

Why are you silent on discrimination against Dalit jawans? Macwan questions Modi

By Rajiv Shah
Close on the heels of releasing his book in Gujarati, "Bhed Bharat", which lists 319 cases of atrocities against Dalits and Adivasis across the country over the last five years, well-known Gujarat Dalit rights leader Martin Macwan has shot an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, telling him the reasons why he does not want vote for the BJP.

Jharkhand Adivasi lynched to death by mob "chanting" Jai Shri Ram: Fact-finding team

Counterview Desk
On April 10, 2019, Prakash Lakda, a 50-year old Adivasi of Jurmu village of Gumla’s Dumri block, was lynched to death by a mob of men from the Sahu community of neighbouring Jairagi village. Three other victims from Jurmu – Peter Kerketta, Belarius Minj and Janerius Minj – sustained severe injuries due to the beating by the mob. A fact-finding team of Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JJM), comprising of several activists and representatives of member organisations, conducted a fact-finding inquiry into the incident on April 14-15.

Investigation shows Narmada downstream "seriously" polluted. Reason: apathy, greed

By Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant, Swati Desai*
Our investigation regarding quality of water flowing in the Narmada river downstream of the Sardar Sarovar Dam (SSD), dated April 6, 2019, between 11.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. reiterates, what is commonly known now, that the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) is planned without considering its impact on the downstream Narmada River stretch of 161 kilometres, its ecology, biodiversity and fishery, and lakhs of people living close to and dependent on the river directly or indirectly. This, in turn, has led to its present disastrous state.

Emergence of a rare Dalit teacher in IIT-Kanpur "disturbed" certain faculty members

By PS Krishnan, IAS (Retd)*
Dr Subrahmanyam Sadrela, a faculty member in the Department of Aerospace Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Kanpur since January 1, 2018, and one of the rare Dalit members of the faculty in IIT group of institutions, is facing the threat of revocation of his PhD thesis, and thereby also jeopardizing his job and career.

RTE in remote areas? Govt of India "plans" to close down 2.4 lakh schools

By Srijita Majumder*
The Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009, came into effect on April 1, 2010, for the first time made it obligatory on the part of the State to provide free and compulsory education to all children from 6-14 years of age in India. The Act, despite its limitations, had progressive elements like neighbourhood schools, community participation, ban on corporal punishment, no detention, continuous and comprehensive evaluation and it hence it appeared that India was not far from achieving universal elementary education.