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Manual Scavenging: 376 Die In 5 Years, Only Half Of The Families Given Compensation, Minister Informs Lok Sabha

As per the data shared by Union minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale in the Lok Sabha, over 100 people have died in 2019 alone while cleaning sewers and septic tanks which is a jump of almost 62 per cent from 2018

Manual Scavenging: 376 Die In 5 Years, Only Half Of The Families Given Compensation, Minister Informs Lok Sabha

New Delhi: Union Ministry of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, Ramdas Athawale, in a reply to a question raised in the Lok Sabha revealed that as many as 376 people died of asphyxia while cleaning sewers and septic tanks in the country in the last five years. According to the data presented by him in his reply, the number of deaths was the highest in 2019 (110) which is almost a 62 per cent increase from the number of deaths reported in 2018, which stood at 68.

Also Read: Tiny Blockage Between Life And Death: Sanitation Workers In India Face Grim Working Conditions, Reveals A New Report

Mr. Athawale revealed that 57 people died cleaning sewers and septic tanks in 2015, 48 died the next year, 93 in 2017, 68 in 2018 and 110 in 2019.

Manual Scavenging: 376 Die In 5 Years, Only Half Of The Families Given Compensation, Minister Informs Lok Sabha

376 manual scavengers have died in the last five years

He said that Uttar Pradesh has topped the list of sewer deaths last year at 21, followed by Maharashtra (17), Gujarat (16) and Tamil Nadu (15). The shared by Mr. Athawale also sayas that 13 states including Odisha, Jharkhand, northeast states and Union Territories Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Lakshadweep have reported zero incidents of manual scavenging deaths.

Manual Scavenging: 376 Die In 5 Years, Only Half Of The Families Given Compensation, Minister Informs Lok Sabha

The state of Uttar Pradesh has topped the list of sewer deaths last year followed by Maharashtra, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu

Out of 376 deaths, families of only 200 sanitation workers who died between 2015 and 2019 were paid full compensation, 75 received partial amount and 101 have not received any compensation at all.

The Minister, in his reply, said that persons who were engaged in manual scavenging have been identified for their rehabilitation. He said,

A total of 62,904 manual scavengers have been identified between December 6, 2013 and January 31, 2020, in India. Out of this, 14,559 were identified by 13 states from 2013-14 to January 31, 2020 and 48,545 were identified in a national survey carried out in 194 districts of 18 states on the basis of unsanitary latrines converted into sanitary latrines under Swachh Bharat Mission.

Also Read: WaterAid India’s Photo Exhibition Dives Into The Hidden World Of Sanitation Workers

‘Numbers Revealed By Ministry Are Not True’: Safai Karamchari Andolon

According to Bizwada Wilson, co-founder of the Safai Karamchari Andolon, a non-governmental organisation that works for the eradication of manual scavenging said that manual scavenging is still the primary occupation of lakhs of people across the country but the government has identified only a few thousands of them.

According to him, more than 2.6 lakh women are involved in dry latrine cleaning, around 7.7 lakh men are involved in cleaning sewers and septic tanks.

He further said that the data shared by Mr. Athawale in the Lok Sabha on the number of people who died while cleaning of sewer and septic tanks is also not correct. According to him, 475 manual scavengers have died in the last five years and 116 have died in 2019. While talking to NDTV, he said,

This is an extremely sad situation. Nearly seven years after the legislation of the ‘Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Act (Manual Scavengers Act) 2013,’ deaths of sanitation workers due to asphyxiation inside sewers and septic tanks continue across India. I can only say one thing – the government is not taking this matter seriously. They are not reporting the numbers properly. For them, these deaths are not important and are just some numbers.

Also Read: Manual Scavenging Still Continues In India Due To Weak Laws: UN Study

The Government Is Strictly Against Hiring Of Manual Scavengers: National Safai Karamcharis Finance And Development Corporation

According to an official from National Safai Karamcharis Finance and Development Corporation (NSKFDC) which is the implementing agency for the scheme on the rehabilitation of manual scavengers, government agencies at all levels have been given strict instructions to not hire manual scavengers. However, he did acknowledge the fact that sometimes the contractors who take up government work and private entities like Residential Welfare Associations (RWAs) and individuals do hire people to clean sewers and septic tanks. He said that any such act, if reported to them, faces strict actions. According to him, the 2013 Act says that people employing manual scavengers could be convicted with imprisonment for up to two years or fined Rs. 1 lakh or both.

He further added that sanitation is a state subject and all state governments along with the central government, are trying to identify the manual scavengers and provide them training for alternate occupations to help them rehabilitate.

Recently, while delivering her budget speech, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that the government is determined to eradicate the practice of manual cleaning of sewer systems or septic tanks through mechanised cleaning.

Also Read: Manual Scavenging: 24-Year-Old Sanitation Worker Dies While Cleaning Sewer In Delhi

World

22,95,44,435Cases
19,20,52,504Active
3,27,83,741Recovered
47,08,190Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 22,95,44,435 and 47,08,190 have died; 19,20,52,504 are active cases and 3,27,83,741 have recovered as on September 22, 2021 at 3:49 am.

India

3,35,31,498 26,964Cases
3,01,9897,586Active
3,27,83,741 34,167Recovered
4,45,768 383Deaths
In India, there are 3,35,31,498 confirmed cases including 4,45,768 deaths. The number of active cases is 3,01,989 and 3,27,83,741 have recovered as on September 22, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

65,27,629 3,131

44,269 960

63,44,744 4,021

1,38,616 70

Kerala

45,39,926 15,768

1,61,765 5,813

43,54,264 21,367

23,897 214

Karnataka

29,69,361 818

13,769 617

29,17,944 1,414

37,648 21

Tamil Nadu

26,48,688 1,647

16,993 9

25,96,316 1,619

35,379 19

Andhra Pradesh

20,40,708 1,179

13,905 483

20,12,714 1,651

14,089 11

Uttar Pradesh

17,09,693 13

194 0

16,86,612 13

22,887

West Bengal

15,62,710 537

7,741 69

15,36,291 592

18,678 14

Delhi

14,38,556 39

400 21

14,13,071 18

25,085

Odisha

10,21,216 462

4,844 103

10,08,226 560

8,146 5

Chhattisgarh

10,05,120 26

297 0

9,91,260 26

13,563

Rajasthan

9,54,275 12

99 8

9,45,222 4

8,954

Gujarat

8,25,751 14

133 0

8,15,536 14

10,082

Madhya Pradesh

7,92,410 8

90 6

7,81,803 14

10,517

Haryana

7,70,754 8

328 12

7,60,618 20

9,808

Bihar

7,25,907 6

60 9

7,16,188 15

9,659

Telangana

6,63,906 244

4,938 53

6,55,061 296

3,907 1

Punjab

6,01,359 36

304 3

5,84,554 37

16,501 2

Assam

5,98,864 441

5,081 97

5,87,970 338

5,813 6

Jharkhand

3,48,139 14

65 10

3,42,941 4

5,133

Uttarakhand

3,43,405 12

249 18

3,35,765 29

7,391 1

Jammu And Kashmir

3,28,214 145

1,450 11

3,22,345 154

4,419 2

Himachal Pradesh

2,17,403 263

1,715 99

2,12,033 162

3,655 2

Goa

1,75,690 107

886 76

1,71,507 29

3,297 2

Puducherry

1,25,618 101

922 55

1,22,864 46

1,832

Manipur

1,18,870 197

2,174 9

1,14,861 203

1,835 3

Tripura

83,956 51

353 7

82,794 44

809

Mizoram

82,815 1,355

15,363 223

67,184 1,127

268 5

Meghalaya

79,817 150

1,878 18

76,558 167

1,381 1

Chandigarh

65,195 7

44 3

64,333 4

818

Arunachal Pradesh

54,190 64

413 3

53,504 60

273 1

Sikkim

31,014 43

627 27

30,007 70

380

Nagaland

30,959 52

470 3

29,832 46

657 3

Ladakh

20,743 6

144 6

20,392

207

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,670

0 0

10,666

4

Lakshadweep

10,360 1

9 1

10,300

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,607 7

17 4

7,461 3

129

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