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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Upendra Baxi on foolish excellence, Indian judges and Consitutional cockroaches

By Rajiv Shah
In a controversial assertion, top legal expert Upendra Baxi has sought to question India's Constitution makers for neglecting human rights and social justice. Addressing an elite audience in Ahmedabad, Prof Baxi said, the constitutional idea of India enunciated by the Constituent Assembly tried to resolve four key conflicting concepts: governance, development, rights and justice.

What about religious persecution of Dalits, Adivasis, asks anti-CAA meet off Ahmedabad

By Rajiv Shah
A well-attended Dalit rights meet under the banner “14 Pe Charcha” (discussion on Article 14 of the Indian Constitution), alluding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi well-known campaign phrase of the 2014 Parliamentary elections, “chai pe charcha” (discussion over cup of tea), organized off Ahmedabad, has resolved on Wednesday to hold a 14 kilometres-long rally on April 14 to oppose the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), enacted on December 10-11.

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”.