Lok Sabha

December 19, 2017

Pratima Mondal speaks on the issue of manual scavenging

Pratima Mondal speaks on the issue of manual scavenging


Thank you Madam for giving me the opportunity to speak.

Madam, I would like to draw the attention of the House regarding the recent deaths of manual scavengers which can be categorised as one of the most serious violation of any law prevalent in the country.

According to Safai Karamchari Andolan, a total of 107 deaths have taken place this year. As per rules, civic workers are expected to wear proper safety gear before exposing themselves to toxic waste.

Madam, however, these recent deaths signify the dehumanising condition in which these individuals are made to work. The deaths signify the poor implementation of the provision of the prohibition of Manual Scavengers’ Act, 2013.

The government’s flagship programme Swacch Bharat Abhiyaan has also failed to tackle this issue. It focuses on toilet construction, ignoring the dismal condition of manual scavengers.

No technology in place to clean toilets, the government need to rely on manual scavengers to clean them. Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) also states that manual scavengers is an issue under urban development. But, this stands merely on paper.

Madam, in an answer to the Rajya Sabha, on 8 August, 2017, Hon Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, stated that no such case of employment of manual scavengers have been brought to their notice since the passing of 2013 Act. Madam, this is a denial of the existence of manual scavengers.

There is an urgent need to address these unseen laws, which pluck the life of the people belonging to backward and lower castes. Speaker Madam, I would like to request the Hon Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, that Government should take an initiative for bringing up a new modern technology to clean septic tanks, so that we would help to save the human lives and as well as to eradicate the caste system.

Thank you Madam.