City Yet to be Free of Manual Scavenging
BHUBANESWAR: More than 60 manual scavengers have reported at the self-declaration centres set up by the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC).
Two self-declaration centres were set up by BMC to record information about the presence of manual scavengers in the Capital. This was done in accordance with the guidelines issued in the Instructions Manual Concept, Definitions and Procedures for Survey on Manual Scavengers in Statutory Towns by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
About 90 persons had reported at the two self-declaration centres that they were engaged in manual scavenging in the Capital. All the applications were verified by the BMC officials. Of the total applicants, the declaration of 60 applicants were found to be true.
BMC Assistant Commissioner (Slum) Binaya Das said even though there are no dry latrines in the Capital, the people engaged in clearing the soak pits come under the category of manual scavengers. Since the entire city is not covered under the Sewerage Department, soak pits have been put in place at many locations. Most of 60 manual scavengers are engaged in cleaning these soak pits, Das added. A detailed report of the survey has been forwarded to the State Government.
Many States reported zero incidence of manual scavenging during the Social Economic Caste Census (SECC) enumeration conducted in 2011. Even BMC had reported that it did not have any manual scavenger. Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment decided to conduct another survey in 2013 in the States which reported zero manual scavenging. Odisha was the first State to conduct the re-survey of manual scavengers in the country. It had also formulated a law ‘Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavenger and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 in Odisha’.
Housing and Urban Development (H&UD) Department had recently directed all the urban local bodies (ULBs) to speed up identification of manual scavengers in urban areas so that the Government could facilitate their rehabilitation. But many ULBs have not submitted the report even though the deadline expired a month back.