Sewer deaths: Centre to come up with action plan

As deaths continue to be reported, state governments were repeatedly criticized for not clamping down on manual sewer and septic cleaning. 

Published: 29th July 2019 08:13 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th July 2019 08:13 AM   |  A+A-

Manual scavenging

For representational purposes (File | EPS)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The Centre is planning to come up with a national action plan on mechanisation of sewer and septic tank cleaning. The 2013 Act of Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act outlaws hazardous cleaning of sewer or septic tanks. 

As deaths continue to be reported, state governments were repeatedly criticized for not clamping down on manual sewer and septic cleaning. 

The Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry will hold a series of meetings with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs and Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation in order to plan the content of the action plan. 

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“Currently, the idea is at a nascent stage and it needs to be developed through a series of meetings with other ministries,” said a senior official, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.   

“A national action plan will help overcome the current challenges. We are conducting workshops on raising awareness levels of the civic authorities,” said the official.  

Ashif Shaikh convener, Rashtriya Garima Abhiyan, pointed out in order to move towards mechanisation, the Centre and states need to financially invest in procuring machines. A national action plan on raising awareness may not change the ground realities, he said.      

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