Despite there being a ban, Delhi Jal Board and Municipal Corporation of Delhi are still hiring manual scavengers. The Delhi State Legal Service Authority (DSLSA) has reported that at least 233 such workers are working with various agencies in the capital.
Manual scavenging or the practice of cleaning human excreta manually from dry latrines and sewers is prohibited under the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013. Delhi High Court bench of Justice BD Ahmed and Justice Ashutosh Kumar sought explanation on affidavits filed by government agencies claiming they do not employ manual scavengers. “Take action against those officers under whose jurisdiction this is happening… Register an FIR, let them go to jail,” the bench remarked adding, “We are a country of poor people but not for poor people”.
Dharmesh Sharma, Member Secretary of DSLSA said, of the 233 manual scavengers, 104 were government employees and the rest, 129, were outsourced or private contract workers. The report said MCD has not supplied any safety equipment to its workers who clean sewers or latrines. It said the DJB, however, provides gumboots, ropes, gloves, safety belts, helmets and first-aid box to such workers. However, the workers rarely use them as they are heavy and they are not given transport to carry them from one place to another, the report said.
The report quoted an NGO as saying that most scavengers are daily workers hired from UP, Bihar, Rajasthan and other states. The NGO also claimed that 1,070 people died while cleaning sewers in the last few years. The HC fixed the matter for further hearing on August 10.
Source- Hindustan Times