NEW DELHI: A study conducted by an NGO on sewer deaths across 11 states in 26 years has revealed that the highest death rate of 37 per cent was recorded among people in the age group of 15-25 years.
Among people in the age groups of 25-35 and 35-45, the death rates were 35 per cent and 23 per cent, respectively.
The findings of the survey, conducted by Rashtriya Garima Abhiyan, also highlight that rehabilitation schemes remain largely underutilised, with family members of the deceased having no alternative source of income and no choice but to engage in manual scavenging in several cases. Of the total 51 incidents documented, compensation was given to the families of the deceased in only 31 per cent cases, the report points out.
The study, conducted between January and July, has identified 140 incidents and over 302 deaths from 1992 to 2018. The NGO study covered 51 of these 140 incidents in which 97 deaths have been documented in the report.
“The data is not reflective of the consolidated numbers of deaths across the country. A number of the identified cases for the study have been documented in depth in the report,” said Ashif Shaikh, convener, Rashtriya Garima Abhiyan.
The communities which were found engaged in cleaning and sanitation works in different states were Valmiki, Arunthathiyar, Dom, Mehtar, Matang, Meghwal, Rai Sikh and Hela, among others, according to the report.
The report also found that employers and local authorities who are supposed to provide protective gears and safety devices to workers and deploy a supervisor while the work is being carried out violated the clause in all the cases.