Skip to main content

165 manhole deaths in Gujarat, 62 in Ahmedabad; govt "refusing" to pay Rs 10 lakh compensation: Widows

Hansaben and Gitaben
By Our Representative
Gitaben's husband, belonging to India's most marginalised Dalit community, Valmikis, died while cleaning up a gutter in Ahmedabad in 2006. Though she was given compensation of Rs 2 lakh and a job by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), she has still not received the Rs 10 lakh compensation she should get on the basis of the March 27, 2014 Supreme Court order. Same is the case with Hansaben, whose husband died died in the year 2000.
The Supreme Court order requires payment of Rs 10 lakh compensation to each of the manual scavengers who died cleaning up gutters across India since 1993. However, the two widows alleged that they had "still not heard" from the state government on when will they be compensated, despite repeated representations.
The widows were participating in a public hearing of 200 marginalized women, belonging to Dalit, tribal and minority communities from across Gujarat at the Human Development and Research Centre (HDRC), St Xavier's College premises, Ahmedabad, on Tuesday.
Talking about the plight of not just these widows but also others, whose husbands have died cleaning up gitters since 1993, Parsottam Vaghela of the Manav Garima Trust told newspersons, "Between 1993 and till date as many as 165 persons have died due to asphyxiation in gutters. However, so far, only 11 widows have received the Rs 10 lakh compensation."
"Ironically", he continued, "Even the compensation to the 11 widows is not being paid in in the full. Earlier, they had received an amount of Rs 1.5 to 3 lakh as compensation when their husbands died. This amount was cut from the Rs 10 lakh, which has to be paid as compensation".
"Worse", he told Counterview, "The interest for the three year period after the Supreme Court order has not been paid, which is a clear violation of the apex court order", adding, "We hope, with polls round the corner, the government would act, taking Election Commission permission."
Of the 165 manhole workers who have died, 62 belong to Ahmedabad alone. Ironically, for 10 of them, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation has sought clarification from the state authorities whether their widows should be paid any compensation, as their kin had been given “mercy” jobs.
"In order to avoid giving any compensation various other explanations are being offered", said Vaghela. "Like, the Dahegam municipality, about 20 km from the state capital, Gandhinagar, says that since the two workers who died were contract workers, it is not the job of the government authorities to give any compensation".
" Then", he said, "Mansa municipal authorities say that since those the two persons who had died were working under the water supply department, it is not their job to give compensation. In Jamnagar, four boys died in manhole after they were asked to enter into the manhole in order to save the person, who had already entered in earlier, fainted in the gutter."
"Five years after the tragedy, the Jamnagar Municipal Corporation has said that while the person who died first would be given compensation, the other four who died while saving him would not be compensated. Queries are being raised for each of 165 cases on one pretext or the other in order to flout the Supreme Court order", he added.
During the public hearing, Jassuben, an illiterate Dalit woman, said, her son was killed seven years ago in Ahmedabad's Vatva area, yet no FIR was filed. Even the post mortem was not performed on his body.
And Manjulaben, another Dalit woman, pointed towards how she was suspended from the job of cook at the midday meal kitchen in Junagadh's Ghantiya village "because the principal of the school and the village elders did not want food to be served food by an untouchable."

Comments

TRENDING

#MeToo moment in Hyderabad Urdu varsity? Two girl students seek action against authorities

Counterview Desk
Has the #MeToo movement reached Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MAANU)? It would seem so if a recent letter by newly-appointed chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed to MAANU vice-chancellor Dr Aslam Parvaiz is any indication. Seeking reinstatement of two girl victims of “sexual harassment and humiliation”, the letter specifically names head of the department of the Media Centre for Journalism, suspecting, the problem could be much deeper.
Text of the letter: It is a matter of utmost perturbation for me to receive the two representations from the girls studying in the MCJ (Media Center for Journalism) regarding their sexual and subsequently, mental and social harassment at the hands of Prof Ehtesham Ahmad Khan, the HOD, MCJ.
We do not know, how many girls have been exploited by him and preferred to be silent for saving their family’s honour; however, there are two brave girls who stood to the depraved advances and misuse by Prof Ehtesham and came up with written complai…

"Ineligible" funding of Sardar Statue in Gujarat: CAG tells Central PSUs, it's not a heritage CSR activity

By Our Representative
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, in its recent report on Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSE), has qualified public sector undertakings’ (PSUs') funding the 182-metre world’s highest Sardar Statue, currently being constructed in the Narmada river downstream of the Sardar Sarovar dam as an “ineligible” corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity.

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.

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.”

"Highly irregular" for PSUs to fund Sardar Statue under Corporate Social Responsibility

Counterview Desk
In a letter to I Srinivas, secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India, former secretary (economic affairs), Ministry of Finance, EAS Sarma, has raised questions on the funding of the Sardar Patel statue in South Gujarat by Central Public Sector Undertaking (CPSUs) relying on the Comptroller and Auditor General report (No 18/2018).

Murder of Tamil Nadu teenage Dalit girl: "Stoic silence" despite #MeToo movement

Counterview Desk
Brinelle D'souza, who is with the Centre for Health and Mental Health, School of Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, has prepared a strong statement to protest the brutal murder of 13-year-old Rajalakshmi. "Other than a few media reports, this gruesome killing has not caught national attention despite a very vibrant #MeToo campaign currently underway", regrets D'souza.

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.”

Bank account frozen, raid on Amnesty office: Govt of India "treating" human rights NGOs like criminal enterprises

By Abhirr VP*
Amnesty India’s bank accounts have been frozen by the Enforcement Directorate, effectively stopping its work. Amnesty India is thus the latest target of the government’s assault on civil society in the country. The accounts of Greenpeace India were frozen earlier this month.

J&K Governor's rule: BJP's "failure" to go ahead with 44-plus strategy

By Syed Mujtaba Hussian*
Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) continues to witness cataclysm of events ever since the killing of editor-in-chief of “Rising Kashmir”, Shujaat Bukhari, followed by the BJP’s deliberated parting of ways with its coalition partner, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and imposition of Governor rule.

60 ex-civil servants seek release of CAG reports on Rafale, demonetisation before 2019 polls

Counterview Desk
As many as 60 retired civil servants have asked President Ram Nath Kovind to expedite the release of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) reports on demonetisation and the Rafale deal. The letter, signed mainly by former Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service and Indian Police Service officers, regrets that the status of the audit is "unclear”. According to them, “An impression is gaining ground that CAG is deliberately delaying its audit reports on demonetisation and Rafale deal till after the May 2019 elections so as not to embarrass the present government”.