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Gujarat share in manual scavengers' death 17% of India: Modi 'lying India is ODF'

Outside a public toilet in Ahmedabad
By Our Representative
Gujarat's share in the death of manual scavengers due to asphyxiation in gutters has been a whopping 17% of India, or 130 out of 776. Union social justice and empowerment minister Ramdas Athawala has told the Lok Sabha that of the 130 deaths in Gujarat, which took place since 1993, the state government has compensated a sum of Rs 10 lakh, as required by a Supreme Court judgment, only in 50 cases.
Citing information received from the National Commission for Safai Karmacharis, Athawala said, 15 have been only partially compensated, while as for the rest of the 44 cases no compensation has been paid. Gujarat's deaths are the second highest compared to all other states, with Tamil Nadu leading with 213 deaths, or 27% of the country. However, Tamil Nadu has fully compensated for 160 deaths.
Referring to the Lok Sabha answer, senior environmentalist Mahesh Pandya of the Paryavaran Mitra said, this information, coupled with the statistics on the number of manual scavengers identified by the Government of India tabled in the Lok Sabha, clearly suggest that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was "lying" while declaring at Gandhi Ashram on October 2, on the 150th birth anniversary of the Mahatma, that India is open defecation free (ODF).
Mahesh Pandya
Pointing out that the Lok Sabha answer by Athawale shows the Government of India has identified 56,595 manual scavengers across the country, Pandya said, "No one else but his minister has revealed these figured on the floor of the House on November 19, clearly exposing Modi's lie." He added, of the 56,595 manual scavengers,108 have been identified in Gujarat, which is a "clear under-statement."
According to Pandya, on March 22, 2018, the minister had said that the government had identified 13,460 manual scavengers across India, but the state-wise figures did not reveal how many of them were from Gujarat. According to Pandya, "Over the last one-and-a-half years, the number of manual scavengers appear to have multiplied, reaching 56,595, and it is during period only 108 from Gujarat were identified."
Wondering whether this means that despite the Swacch Bharat Abhiyan manual scavenging and open defecation have seen such a huge rise, too, Pandya said, this clearly suggests that only India or Gujarat have not become open defecation free, but ther is also failure to implement the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013, which forbids the employment of any person for the task of manual scavenging, including making anyone enter into gutters without safety equipment.

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