NEW DELHI: There is a need to boost infrastructure and manpower in order to clamp down on manual scavenging at the grassroots, shows an assessment report released by the Rashtriya Garima Abhiyan, a national campaign for eradicating the highly dangerous practice.The campaign carried out a district-level assessment based on a short analysis of the annual cost of mechanising the process along with the annual cost of human resources required for the mechanisation. It also carried out a case study in Mathura.
“We are submitting the report to the Niti Aayog this month. Though manual scavenging has been outlawed, the ground reality is different. Deaths are reported across the country while cleaning sewer and septic tanks,” said Ashif Shaikh, convenor of the campaign.
“The need of the hour is mechanisation to stop these deaths. There is a lack of estimates of the cost of infrastructure required to stop this practice. We have tried to project the estimates through this report,” said Shaikh.
With reference to the Mathura case, the study estimated over 51,000 septic tanks are cleaned per year and around 195 per day in Mathura’s urban area. For this, 54 machines and 216 sanitation workers are required, the report said. For catering to the rural population of Mathura, over 1 lakh septic tanks need to be cleaned per year and 450 need to be cleaned per day.
Around 150 machines will be needed per day to mechanically clean the tank and 600 workers have to be employed to complete the task,. “Investing in mechanisation would be a long-term solution. In the next phase, we will be carrying out a similar assessment in Indore,” said Shaikh.