The inhuman practice of manual scavenging is prevalent in Berhampur, notwithstanding its
ban. In 1993, the Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act was implemented here for total removal of manual scavenging.
While the Berhampur Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the State Government slept over the issue, a report by the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (referring to the Census data of 2011) in July revealed about existence of 7,547 insanitary latrines in urban areas of the State including
Berhampur. Acting on this figure, the Urban Development Department requested the Registrar-General
of India to indicate the number of urban bodies in Odisha where the practice of manual scavenging was on.
Accordingly, the Registrar General put the figure at 129 households within the Corporation limits. As per the report, there are 67,397 households (excluding institutional households) in 37 wards of BMC. Of them 57,800 households have latrine facility on their premises. While 42,547 households have septic tanks, 7,346 have piped sewer system, 1,687 are with other systems, 1,135 have slab ventilated improved pits, 392 households have open pits without slabs.
The report further states that 4,231 households dispose of night soil into open drains, the same is removed by manual scavengers from 129 households and that of 333 households are serviced by animals. Likewise, 9,597 households within BMC limits have no latrine facility on their premises, 1,731 families use public toilets and 7,861 families resort to open defecation. Following the report, the
BMC directed its health wing to carry out door-to-door survey instead of putting up advertisements in local dailies and urging people to furnish exact information in this regard. However, the health wing is yet to begin its work.