Safai Karamcharis panel orders resurvey of manual scavengers

Even years after implementing the Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993, the government does not know the number of manual scavengers in the state.

This came to light when the members of the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis and BBMP officials held a meeting on Wednesday in connection with the recent deaths of manual scavengers in the city.

Manzar Valjibhai Zala, commission chairperson, and Jagadish Hiremani, member and representative from South India, ordered the Palike officials and also the district administrative heads of eight districts in Karnataka to undertake a resurvey and find out how many manual scavengers are there in the state. The exercise will be conducted in districts such as Mysuru, Chitradurga, Kolar, Davanagere, Bengaluru and Dharwad.

Although it is debated that there are 215 manual scavengers in the state, it is not definite. “The state government has failed to identify the number of manual scavengers in the state. As the apex court has banned cleaning which involves this act, the government agencies have been denying the existence of manual scavengers in the state,” Hiremani said.

Once the survey is completed, manual scavengers will be given a one-time settlement of Rs 90,000 to leave the job or between Rs 25,000 and Rs 1 lakh if they are involved in self-employment or business.

BBMP Commissioner N Manjunath Prasad said they will discuss the resurvey with other civic agencies.

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