Northeast

Two from Tripura among 971 sewer deaths in India: Ramdas Athawale

The minister of state for Social Justice and Empowerment said that victims’ families of 703 total sewer deaths have been paid compensation of Rs 10 lakh each, while families of 136 victims have been paid compensation less that Rs 10 lakh each so far.

ByIFP Bureau

Updated 6 Apr 2022, 5:08 pm

(Representational Image: Unsplash)
(Representational Image: Unsplash)

As many as 971 people in India have died due to accidents while undertaking hazardous cleaning of sewer and septic tanks. In Northeast India, Tripura is the only state that reported two sewer deaths, Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

However, no death has been reported due to engaging in Manual Scavenging (which is lifting of human excreta from insanitary latrines as defined in Section 2(1) (g) of the Prohibition of Manual Scavenging Act, 2013), Athawale said.

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Manual scavenging is prohibited in India with effect from December 6, 2013, as per the “Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 (MS Act, 2013)”. The Act stated that no person or agency can engage or employ any person for manual scavenging from the above date. Any person or agency who engages any person for manual scavenging in violation of the provisions of the MS Act, 2013 is punishable under Section 8 of the above Act, with imprisonment up to two years or fine up to Rs one lakh or both.

Relief Package for Family Members of Manual Scavengers

Based on the Supreme Court’s Judgment of March 27, 2014 in Civil Writ Petition No 583 of 2003, compensation of Rs 10 lakh each is paid by the state governments to the families of those who have died while cleaning sewers/septic tanks from the year 1993 onwards.

The National Commission for Safai Karamcharis and Department of Social Justice have ensured such compensation payments, he said, adding that families of 703 total victims have been paid compensation of Rs 10 lakh each, while families of 136 victims were paid compensation less that Rs 10 lakh each so far.

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The minister also informed that under the Swachh Bharat Mission, since October 2, 2014, more than 10.94 crore sanitary toilets have been constructed in rural areas and over 62.65 lakh in urban areas and insanitary toilets have been converted into sanitary toilets. This work made a huge contribution towards ending the practice of manual scavenging, he said.

Following reports of continuation of this practice, the Ministry launched a mobile app “Swachhata Abhiyaan” on December 24, 2020 to capture the data of insanitary latrines still existing and manual scavengers associated with them. Any person can upload the data of insanitary latrines and manual scavengers on the mobile app. Thereafter, the data is verified by the concerned district administration. However, not a single insanitary latrine has been confirmed so far, the minister said.

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First published:6 Apr 2022, 11:05 am

Tags:

tripuramanual scavengersseptic tanksramdas athawalemanual scavengingsewer

IFP Bureau

IFP Bureau

IMPHAL, Manipur

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