State failed to check manual scavenging, says rights panel - Mandi Gobindgarh News

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Monday, July 8, 2019

State failed to check manual scavenging, says rights panel


State failed to check manual scavenging, says rights panel

Vishav Bharti

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7

The Punjab Government has given a raw deal to manual scavengers as neither the police takes action under proper sections nor there is any mechanism in place to deal with the practice. The facts came to fore in a report prepared by the Association for Democratic Rights.

The report was prepared in the wake of death of Azhar Ali, a daily wager who was lowered into a manhole and died on June 28 in Ludhiana.

The fact-finding report has found that the state government has continuously shown a poor attitude towards sewer men, who are at bottom of society’s ladder. As per the report, The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Act, 2013, prohibits the employment of manual scavengers, the manual cleaning of sewers and septic tanks without protective equipment, and construction of insanitary latrines. The report found that it took two years for the previous government to notify the act in the state. “It indicates towards the state of affairs in Punjab despite a complete ban on the practice. A large number of workers have lost their lives in the state,” said Prof Jagmohan Singh, association president.

The report also found that despite continuous deaths, the police in the state never acted against contractors and officials under stringent sections of the IPC. The police always act under Section 174, which the contractors get away easily with. The report found that even in the case of Azhar Ali in Ludhiana, he was not given protective gear and oxygen.

The report states that civic bodies had found a new way to escape from law by getting the sewage-cleaning work done through contractors. The association demanded that the terms and conditions of contractual work of sewage cleaning should be made public. It also demanded that action should be taken against officials responsible for failure to implement the law in the state.

‘Delay in notifying act’  

As per the report, The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Act, 2013, prohibits the employment of manual scavengers, manual cleaning of sewers and septic tanks without protective equipment and the construction of insanitary latrines. The report found that it took two years for the previous government to notify the Act in the state.

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