NEW DELHI: There is an urgent need to launch nationwide campaign to end manual scavenging in India, civil society organisations said in the wake of a sanitation worker’s death in Delhi.According to Safai Karamchari Andodalan (SKA), 25 deaths were recorded in Delhi alone since 2017 with Sunday’s death being the first one in 2019.
The SKA now plans to launch a nationwide agitation ahead of the general elections so that the Centre and the states come up with an action plan on the social matter. The Rashtriya Garima Abhiyan, which also works for this cause, said it will come up with a nationwide campaign to involve the general public and raise awareness on this issue.
“This issue is being discussed in the public domain only when the deaths are reported. Even though an Act exists, there is a need for compensation, punishments to those employing manual scavengers and violating the law, and need for investment on the government’s part in order to effectively clamp down on the issue,” said Ashif Shaikh, convenor, Rashtriya Garima Abhiyan. “We will launch a campaign to raise the issue at the national platform.”
While the BJP attacked the AAP government holding it responsible for the recent death, SKA convenor Bezwada Wilson said the political parties were passing the back and not taking responsibility for the sewer deaths.
“Both the Centre and the states are extremely irresponsible. We will hold nation-wide protests ahead of the elections so that political parties come up with clear action plans to curb this practice. We wrote repeatedly to the Centre and the states after every death, but there has been no response,” said Wilson.
Meanwhile, the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis will order a survey to evaluate the ground situation. “It is an extremely unfortunate incident,” NCSK chairperson Manhar Valjibhai Zala said.