Skip to main content

Ahmedabad's sanitation workers, on strike, forced to do manual scavenging at 200 spots in city: NGO survey

By Our Representative
Amidst continuing strike by sanitation workers attached with the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) in favour of regularizing their employment, latest facts reveal there are more than 200 spots where they are "forced" to do the despicable job of manual scavenging in a city which is desperately waiting to acquire the UNESCO Heritage tag.
Apart from “cleaning up” the city every day, the sanitation workers, most of whom belong to the Valmiki community, must manually clean up human excreta at these 200 plus spots, these facts reveal. Worse, in some parts, such as the posh western zone, a great majority of them are forced to do it without being on government rolls, merely as contract workers.
According to information collected by a senior activist attached with the Ahmedabad-based NGO Janvikas, Jitendra Rathod, the AMC recently advertised in a top vernacular daily, “Gujarat Samachar” seek “objections”, if any, on declaring as many as 34 wards of Ahmedabad as open defecation free (ODF) under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Swachchha Bharat Mission.
Following the ad, which appeared in May, Janvikas, in alliance with a community organization working among the Valmikis, Manav Garima, conducted survey of these 34 wards. “We identified that there were 55 spots where open defecation is exists, which leads to manual scavenging”, Rathod said.
“We gave details with photographs of open defecation and raised our objections to declare 34 wards as ODF”, said Rathod, adding, however, “So far, no action has been taken in stopping open defecation in any of the wards. Already, three months have passed, yet no concrete details are being shared.”
A few days back, said Rathod, AMC again released an ad in “Gujarat Samachar” seeking information on declaring another eight wards as ODF, seeking objections, if any. “It is surprising. Is the AMC just completing formalities in order to declare the city ODF by publishing advertisement in newspapers?”, he asked.
Insisting that the practice of manual scavenging cannot be prohibited just by ads or chanting slogans, Rathod said, “One needs systematic steps and infrastructure to stop open defecation/manual scavenging. It requires sufficient sanitation facilities like individual or community toilets, drainage, water etc. in slum areas.”
“Otherwise”, he said, “The sanitation workers, nearly all of whom belong to to Valmiki community, would have no other option but forced to handle, remove, carry human excreta in cities like Ahmedabad.”
The sanitation workers' plight is particularly pitiable, as in the 178 square km western zone of the city, which is equal to the total area of Vadodara city, Gujarat's cultural capital, just about 219 of 2,463, working as daily wage workers, are regularized, with many of them are working for up to two decade. The western zone consists of Vejalpur, Bodakdev, Jodhpur, Thaltej, Sarkhej, Ghatlodiya, Gota, Chandlodiya, Ranip and Kali areas.
Led by Dalit leader Jignesh Makwana, the Jan Sangharsh Manch, representing the striking sanitation workers, has said in a note that they are “deprived of all the benefits that come with a permanent job including health, residency and retirement benefits etc.”
“Instead of following the principle of equal wage for equal work, these workers are firstly forced to work as daily wagers and paid much reduced wages as compared to permanent workers”, the note said, highlighting how they are being forced to enter into gutters without any safety equipment.
“They pick up garbage, spraying anti-malarial drugs, all of which lead to severe health issues, yet they have no health coverage”, it underlined, suggesting, instead of adopting a sympathetic attitude towards the sanitation workers, they are being targeted for creating health problems in the city for refusing to take care of cleanliness of the city, leading to health hazards to the citizens.
“On Sunday, around 30 sanitary workers, including four women, were detained by the Gujarat police for long hours for the simple act of protesting and an FIR was registered late in the night”, the note said, adding, “While detaining them the police abused and manhandled the workers. No lady constable or officer was present.”
Meanwhile, there are reports that the AMC is considering to impose Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) to break the sanitation workers' strike, continuing for the last more than a week. It is not known how and under which law the government would impact ESMA on the daily wagers.

Comments

TRENDING

Ahmedabad, GIFT, Adani city get 1.68 lakh acre ft Narmada water; Gujarat's rural areas just 4.27 AF: Letter to CM

Counterview Desk
Well-known farmer rights leader Sagar Rabari, in an open letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, has demanded a transparent account of Narmada water, saying, while he has received a "routine reply" from him to his earlier, the data emerging from his RTI application show huge quantity of water being directed to Ahmedabad, the 10 km stretch of Sabarmati for the Ahmedabad riverfront, and nearby elite urban areas, including the Adanis' Shantigram township and GIFT City.

India failing to dictate diplomatic preferences of Nepal, Bhutan, is unfairly blaming Beijing: Chinese daily

By Our Representative
In a sharply-worded editorial, a top Chinese media outfit, described by BBC as state-run, has said, commenting on India's foreign relations with its neighbours, that "speculation and suspicion" is "certainly not diplomacy". Published in "China Daily", the largest circulating English Monday-to-Saturday newspaper with branches across the world, the editorial notes (September 20) that "several recent events" in Nepal and Bhutan, are "gnawing worrywarts in New Delhi".
The editorial -- which comes close on the heels of a sharp critique of India's foreign policy in a state-supported Russian media outfit, Sputnik International, calling India's anti-Pak diplomacy as having "gone awry" following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "half-baked" push for anti-terror drill down "others' throat" -- says, the " worrywarts" include "Nepalese troops taking part in a joint…

Gujarat BJP MLAs, youth leader "incited" attack on North Indians: Cong releases video

Counterview Desk
Senior Gujarat Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil, currently in charge of Bihar and national spokesperson, All-India Congress Committee, has sent a legal notice to chief minister Vijay Rupani threatening criminal case and civil defamation suit for accusing him with "baseless statement" that he was responsible for attacks on north Indians in Gujarat.

17 lakh Jharkhand elderly, widows, differently abled do not receive pension: Public hearing told, aadhaar is a hurdle

By Our Representative
Hundreds of elderly, widows, single women and differently-abled persons from different districts of Jharkhand gathered near the Raj Bhavan in Ranchi for a public hearing organized by the Jharkhand Right to Food Campaign and Pension Parishad demanding the right to universal social security pensions ahead of World Elderly Day on October 1.

Ethnocide in Caribbean island filmed following award winning docufilm on Jamaica's anti-colonial Indian roots

International awards winner for Best Feature Documentary Linda Aïnouche for “Dreadlocks Story” (2014), which shows how Indians are entangled in the Jamaican society, and how Hinduism was a source of inspiration for the Rastafari movement, is all set to release her new documentary, “Marooned in the Caribbean”, which aims at documenting the awful desolating living conditions that Raizal people, the native inhabitants of San Andres Archipelago, endure.
Sons of slaves, these islanders have fallen prey to what the Colombian government calls Colombianization. “It’s a process”, according to her, “which kills the Raizal culture; it’s the killing of the Raizal soul. Colombianization subjugates Afro-descendants of San Andres to an ethnocide.”

Explorer, director and producer, Linda Aïnouche writes exclusively for Counterview: ***
Nobody escapes from blood and thunder in Colombia, and definitely not in the archipelago of San Andres, situated closer to Managua and Kingston than Bogota. The Raizal p…

India to deport Rohingya refugees, as the world moves towards prosecuting Myanmar for genocide

By Tapan Bose*
Seven Rohingya Muslims refugees who were held at a detention centre in Assam since 2012 will be handed over to Myanmar. The Supreme Court of India has refused to stop their deportation. The new Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gagoi said, "We are not inclined to interfere on the decision taken".

An elite Kutir set up by Modi far from the "madding" crowd: This Gandhi museum is formal, unapproachable

By Rajiv Shah
Have you ever heard of a Gandhi museum, sough to be projected as the “largest” on the Mahatma, yet totally inaccessible, in sharp contrast to Ahmedabad’s humble, approachable and unassuming Gandhi Ashram on the banks of Sabarmati, set up by the Mahatma during the heydays of the freedom movement? It exists about 30 kilometres away, its idea was conceived by none other than a person who has today become even more inaccessible than he ever was: Narendra Modi, India's Prime Minister.

Post-MJ Akbar resignation: #MeToo movement and fears of backlash

By Sheshu Babu*
For the last few days, #MeToo movement has picked up momentum and many women are coming out with horrific tales of severe harassment in their past lives. They are not afraid anymore to expose famous persons including those at ministerial levels. As a senior journalist Neeraja Chowdhury opined (“An exit, a beginning”, October 18, 2018, indianexpress.com), "The #MeToo revelations are like the eruption of a volcano which was imminent, given the journey working women have covered. It was not easy to make public what they had gone through,and take on powerful men.”

History less known: Kasturba's role as an independent woman and a freedom fighter in her own right

By Nandini Oza*
Even the most deserving of women do not find a place that equals their worth in history. Kasturba is one such woman whose contribution to India’s struggle for freedom has been exemplary, and yet, it has not received the recognition it deserves. Kastur Makhanji Kapadia was born in the year 1869, the same year and in the same town of Porbandar in Gujarat as Gandhiji. In fact she was older than Gandhiji by a few months.

29th "NRC-related" suicide in Assam, as Nirod Baran Das takes his life by hanging on a fan

By Our Representative
Reporting 29th case of National Register of Citizens (NRC)-driven suicide in Assam, one of India’s human rights campaign sites has said that, on October 20, tragedy struck Kharupetia town in Darrang district of Assam, when a retired school teacher and advocate Nirod Baran Das “took his life by hanging himself to a fan in his home.” The report adds, “The NRC process has so far claimed over two dozen such lives in the past four months alone.”