Skip to main content

Gujarat "fails" to implement manual scavenging law, pay Rs 10 lakh to compensate 170 manhole deaths

By Our Representative
A new Dalit civil rights network, formed in Gujarat, has taken strong exception to the “failure” of the state government to implement the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers Act, 2013. Called Gujarat Safai Kamdar Adhikar Andolan (GSKAA), it has said that even the “basic rules” to implement the Act, which came into force on December 6, 2013, have not been made.
Consisting of senior activists from four major Ahmedabad-based NGOs working on human rights issues, Janvikas, Navsarjan Trust, Human Development and Research Centre and Manav Garima, they told a media conference, the situation is particularly appalling as the state government has not even implemented the Supreme Court order, dated March 27, 2014, which had asked all states to pay Rs 10 lakh compensation to manhole workers, who died due to asphyxiation after 1993.
“There are more than 170 manhole workers who died while cleaning drainage in Gujarat since 1993. We have represented to the tate government to implement the Act and award compensation. Yet, the government has not taken any action”, said Jitendra Rathod of Janvikas.
Rathod added, “We have prepared this list of 170 manhole workers, and handed it over to the state government. We have identified each of them. It should be more than that. Actually it is the duty of the state government to prepare the list after contacting city and town local bodies and police. It is a matter of just one month. Yet, even after two years, nothing has been done.”
Added Parsottam Vaghela of Manav Garima, “Dalit rights activists working in other states tell us that Rs 10 lakh compensation, as directed by the Supreme Court, has been paid by several South Indian states. It's a question of paying Rs 15 crore only in gujarat. It is difficult to understand why state government government is dilly dallying.”
Rathod said, the Supreme Court ruling had also “directed states compensate to the tune of Rs 50,000 to each of those who were cleaning up dry latrines, hence were involed in doing the despicable job of manual scavenging. “Nothing has been in this direction either. In Ahmedabad alone we have identified 200 such spots. Yet, the officialdom is indifferent”, he added.
Navsarjan Trust's Kirit Rathod revealed, “The state government, through a government resolution dated March 1, 2016, had admitted, quoting Census of India figures, that there were 32,960 individuals in Gujarat who were involved in cleaning dry latrines. Yet, the state government has not done anything comensate them. The practice should be banned, yet it continues unabated.”
Meanwhile, a GSKAA note claims, “Manual scavenging is increasing due to urbanization in Gujarat”, suggesting this is because open defecation is rising as increasing number of people migrate to cities, and there are not enough public toilets for them.
It adds, the state government has “not set up any implementing mechanism at state, district and taluka level”, as required by the anti-manual scavenging Act of 2013. “Government is not aware which department is responsible to implement the Act.”
“The state level monitoring committee should be implementing the Act has to be set up and should meet under chairmanship of Chief Minister twice in a year”, the note says, adding, “But, such committee has not been constituted, not to talk of meeting. This shows how state government is serious to implement the Act of 2013. ”
Activists accused the state government of “caste prejudice” as the reason behind “refusal” to implement the Act.
“While the fire brigade personnel are trained to carry out their risky job, those entering the gutters are not given any equipment, though their job is equally risky. There are at least 54 different equipment they must wear before entering the manhole. But they have to do it without all this. This is because they are Valmikis,”, they alleged.

Comments

TRENDING

India performs 'poorly' in Quality of Life Index, ranks 62nd out of 64 countries

Counterview Desk “Expat Insider”, which claims to be one of the world’s most extensive surveys about living and working abroad, in a survey of 20,259 participants from around the globe, has found that of the 64 destinations around the globe, has found that while Taiwan is the best destination for persons living outside their native country, closely by Vietnam and Portugal, India ranks 59th.

Youngest of 16 activists jailed for sedition, Mahesh Raut 'fought' mining on tribal land

By Surabhi Agarwal, Sandeep Pandey* A compassionate human being, always popular among his friends and colleagues because of his friendly nature and human sensitivity, 33-year-old Mahesh Raut, champion of the democratic rights of the marginalised Adivasi people of Gadchiroli, Maharashtra, has been in prison for over two years now.

India's GDP down by 50%, not 23%, job loss 200 million not 122 million: Top economist

By Our Representative  One of India’s topmost economists has estimated that India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) decline was around 50%, and not 23%, as claimed by the Government of India’s top data body, National Statistical Organization (NSO). Prof Arun Kumar, who is Malcolm S Adiseshiah chair professor, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi, said this was delivering a web policy speech, organised by the Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi.

Human development index: India performs worse than G-20 developing countries

By Rajiv Shah A new book, “Sustainable Development in India: A Comparison with the G-20”, authored by Dr Keshab Chandra Mandal, has regretted that though India’s GDP has doubled over the last one decade, its human development indicators are worse than not just developed countries of the Group of 20 countries but also developing countries who its members.

Stan Swamy vs Arnab Goswami: Are activists fighting a losing battle? Whither justice?

By Fr Sunil Macwan SJ* It is time one raised pertinent questions over the courts denying bail to Fr Stan Swamy, who was arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), and granting it to Arnab Goswami, editor-in-chief of the Republic TV, arrested under the charge of abetting suicide of Avay Naik, who ended his life in 2018. It is travesty of justice that a human rights activist is not only denied bail but is also made to wait for weeks to hear a response to his legitimate request for a straw to drink water, while Arnab Goswami walks free.

India among heavily impacted by Covid-19, China 'notoriously' evading transparency

By NS Venkataraman* With the year 2020 inevitably ending in the next few weeks, the thought amongst the people all over the world is whether the coming year 2021 will be free of Covid-19 (often dubbed as Wuhan virus, as it known to have spread from Wuhan in China).In the early 2020, many people thought that Covid-19 would be a localized affair in China but later on, it proved to be a global pandemic.

Namaz in Mathura temple: Haridwar, Ayodhya monks seek Faisal Khan's release

By Our Representative As many as 23 members of the Hindu Voices for Peace (HVP), including the founder president of the well-known Haridwar-based Matri Sadan Ashram, Swami Shivananda Saraswati, and a one of its top monks, Brahmachari Aatmabodhanand, have expressed their “dismay” over the arrest of Khudai Khidmatdar chief Faisal Khan and three others on charges of “promoting enmity between religions” and “defiling a place of worship” after they offered namaz in Mathura’s Nand Baba temple premises on October 29.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Government of India 'refuses' to admit: 52% of bird species show declining trend

Finn's Weaver  By Our Representative The Government of India has been pushing out “misleading” data on the country’s drastic wildlife decline, says a well-researched report, pointing towards how top ministers are hiding data on biodiversity losses, even as obfuscating its own data. It quotes “State of India’s Birds Report 2020” to note that of the 261 out of 867 bird species for which long-term trends could be determined, 52% have declined since the year 2000, with 22% declining strongly.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.