Safai Karamcharis Commission To Delhi Government: Despite 200 Sewer Cleaning Machines Why Are Sanitation Workers Dying?Manual Scavenging: More than 15 sanitation workers' deaths have been reported in Delhi since 2018

New Delhi: The National Commission for Safai Karamcharis (NCSK) has written to the Delhi government seeking to know why sanitation workers continue to die in the national capital while cleaning sewers manually even after the purchase of 200 sewer cleaning machines. Referring to the recent news reports of frequent deaths of sanitation workers in Delhi while manually cleaning sewers without protective gears, the commission also sought to know the steps taken by the Delhi government to stop these deaths.

In a letter to Delhi chief secretary Vijay Dev, NCSK secretary Narain Dass said that the commission has taken serious note of these sewer death incidents and is pursuing each of the case separately with the respective police and district authorities urging them to register FIR under stringent provisions of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 and to pay compensation to the families of victims.

The commission has gathered that Delhi government has procured 200 sewer cleaning machines to ensure mechanized system of sewer cleaning. However, the regular occurrence of sewer deaths in Delhi seems to betray the suggestion of mechanization, Mr. Dass said.

Also Read: Demeaning, Illegal, Lethal Yet Prevalent: Manual Scavenging Continues Despite Being Banned 25 Years Ago

Around more than 15 sewer deaths have been reported during the last-and-half years in Delhi which has “dismayed” the commission.

The commission is “compelled to understand the mechanised system of sewer cleaning is still not being executed completely”.

The NCSK secretary further said that this was a clear indication that the provisions of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 are not being implemented seriously.

I shall be grateful if you could kindly provide a detailed report to this commission as to how the sewer death cases are continuing in Delhi despite claims of mechanization and steps being taken by the Delhi government to stop these deaths, the letter said.

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swachh India campaign lends support to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, the campaign aims to spread awareness about hygiene and sanitation, the importance of building toilets and making India open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019, a target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014. Over the years, the campaign has widened its scope to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and menstrual hygiene. The campaign has also focused extensively on marine pollutionclean Ganga Project and rejuvenation of Yamuna, two of India’s major river bodies.

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