Sewer deaths: 50 per cent families in Delhi did not receive compensation

Of the number of sewer deaths recorded in the capital, 20 people received a compensation of Rs 10 lakh and four people received compensation less than Rs 10 lakh.

Published: 12th January 2019 06:15 PM  |   Last Updated: 21st January 2019 04:42 PM   |  A+A-

Manual scavenging. (File | EPS)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Of the 49 sewer deaths recorded in the capital, compensation has not reached the families in over 50 per cent of the cases, according to data available with the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis (NCSK).

Of the number of sewer deaths recorded in the capital, 20 people received a compensation of Rs 10 lakh and four people received compensation less than Rs 10 lakh. Twenty-five people have not received compensation, according to the data.

“This is an ongoing exercise where we are documenting deaths from across the country. We are surveying states through ground visits to record the number of deaths,” said Manhar Valjibhai Zala, NCSK chairperson.

“We will be visiting Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry this month to take stock of the ground situation of manual scavenging,” he added.

The Commission is compiling data from across states on the number of deaths since 1993. The total number of deaths recorded by the NCSK across India is 709 which experts said is an underestimation of the figures.

Of the 709 deaths recorded, a compensation of Rs 10 lakh has been paid in 367 cases and over 90 families have received less than Rs 10 lakh. The data shows there was no payment in 204 cases and in another 46 cases, the “legal heir” were not traceable.

From the data compiled so far, Tamil Nadu has recorded over 190 cases, Gujarat 132 cases, Karnataka 69, Uttar Pradesh 61, Punjab 33, and Haryana 52 among other states.

“Families not receiving full payments is common. The other problem is the delay in payment of compensations. There are several cases dating back to 2013/2014, in which families have not received compensations. Local-level officials often do not know how to go about with the procedure of payments of compensation. The other thing is the government is in denial of the number of deaths taking place,” said Ashif Shaikh, convenor, Rashtriya Garima Abhiyan.

The National Commission for Safai Karamcharis (NCSK) has recommended all states across India should have individual state safai karamchari commissions in order to end the practice of manual scavenging.

Despite the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 outlaws manual scavenging, people continue to be employed for the manual cleaning of dry toilets, sewer and septic tanks.

In a recent report submitted to the Social Justice and Empowerment ministry, the NCSK had recommended all states should have individual state safai karamchari commissions in order to end the practice of manual scavenging.

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