BENGALURU: Last week, while passing by Shoolay Circle, only 100 metres away from Brigade Road, an activist found two Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) pourakarmikas forcefully employed to clean the sewerage on the road.
Vinay K Sreenivasa, from Alternative Law Forum, said, “I saw a supervisor who was making two pourakarmikas engage in manual scavenging. The sewerage had toilet waste flowing onto the road. The drains were blocked and they had to sweep it out with their bare hands and a broomstick.”
He further added that their legs were ankle-deep in the waste and it was clear they did not want to do it.
“BWSSB can clean this with a jetting machine.Upon my intervention, the supervisor said two posh commercial establishments complained about it to BWSSB, who did nothing. Following this, a complaint was raised with BBMP. He said he was pressured by the BBMP officials to clear it immediately, which is why he employed the pourakarmikas to do it,” said Vinay, who then stopped the cleaning.
According to the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Act, 2013, the practice of employing people to clean sewers, un-decomposed human waste from an open drain, insanitary latrine, railway track or septic tanks, especially without protective gear, is outlawed.
When contacted by CE, Special Commissioner of Solid Waste Management (SWM), Randeep D said,
“This offence was not brought to my attention. Anyone who knows the law is aware that this is a punishable offence. BBMP does not have its own jetting machines and normally asks BWSSB to do it or hires it from them.”
“I am intrigued as to why the supervisor took this decision when the ward-level health inspector and assistant executive engineers look into solid waste management. He has taken action in his own capacity by employing pourakarmikas, when there is no question of someone having to manually do this job,” he said, adding that an enquiry will be undertaken and action will be taken against the concerned person.