BENGALURU: Call Bengaluru ‘Boom Town’, ‘IT Capital of India’ or even ‘Global City’, but the city’s shame lies in the fact that manual scavenging still persists in and around the metropolis, despite strict directions from the courts and Central government.The shame was exposed at a meeting on Thursday, when Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike Commissioner N Manjunatha Prasad was apprised by BBMP zonal officers on the status of the disgusting practice of manual scavenging. The practice involves manually cleaning or disposing of human excreta from latrines or open drains, using buckets and shovels, or worse, bare hands.
What has emerged even more shameful are the figures pertaining to the practice: Prasad was apprised that as per a 2013 survey conducted by the Central and state governments, 201 manual scavengers were identified, and compensation of `40,000 each was given to only 71 of them. In the case of the remaining workers, documents were still to be verified, and the status of the rest is not yet known.
A recent survey indicated that in all eight city zones, excluding Yelahanka, Bommanahalli and Dasarahalli, there were 1,139 manual scavengers. But the final details are not yet known, Prasad was informed.A livid Prasad then ordered a proper survey and a report on the total number of manual scavengers in the city. He also pointed out that there were many manual scavengers in the newly-added 110 villages of Bengaluru, where this practice is prevalent, and reminded officials that as per the court and Central government guidelines and orders, stringent action will be taken against those forcing them into such a practice by hiring them.
Prasad has ordered for the report to include pertinent details about the conditions in which manual scavengers live and work in.An agitated Prasad said: “A fresh survey should be done and all the 1,139 and 201 (from the earlier survey) workers should be checked, their living and financial conditions ascertained, homes should be constructed for them, their children should be given proper education, and alternative sources of livelihood should be offered to them.”