Manual scavenging raises its ugly head again in Karnataka

Two people in Chitradurga on Wednesday night got inside the manhole to clear the debris of a nearby public toilet run by a private sanitation organisation.

Published: 17th March 2017 05:02 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th March 2017 05:02 AM   |  A+A-

A civic worker inside the manhole near Neelakanteshwara Temple in Chitradurga

By Express News Service

CHITRADURGA: Even after several incidents of manhole deaths from across the state and country, two people in Chitradurga on Wednesday night got inside the manhole to clear the debris of a nearby public toilet run by a private sanitation organisation.

Chowri Maridas and Diwakar were made to get inside the manhole near Neelakanteshwara Temple on Bengaluru-Davangere road and were tasked with clearing the blockades.
Even though there are mechanical devices to clear the soak pits and manholes, the man running the public toilet used manual services to get them cleared.

Despite many incidents of manhole deaths, people in the district have not learnt anything and are using the banned manual scavenging method to clean the manholes and soak pits.
Up on knowing about the incident, CMC commissioner Chandrappa, who rushed to the spot, issued notice to Aravind Pande, the manager of the public toilet and both the civic workers.
Speaking to Express Chandrappa said: "We have lodged a complaint with the Kote Police Station which has already arrested Aravind Pande for undertaking manual scavenging under The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Act-2013. We have directed all our civic workers not to indulge in manual cleaning activities."

Aravind Pande, in his defence, said: "He had directed the civic workers to just clean from outside. However, they entered the manhole to clear the blockades."
The commissioner also said the CMC has got sufficient safety gears to the civic workers. However, the incident has taken place without the knowledge of the local health inspector nor the commissioner.
Deputy Commissioner M K Srirangaiah said: "Directions have been given to Chitraddurga CMC commissioner to take disciplinary action against the manager of public toilet and cases have been booked."
He said they have been directed not to involve in manual scavenging as it is an inhuman practices and if such practices are found in future administration will not tolerate it.
Meanwhile the accused Aravind Pande, who was arrested and produced before the district court, got conditioned bail for a day.
He was directed to attend before the district court on Friday for next hearing.


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