DELHI: CPI(M) Delegation Demands an End to Manual Scavenging

A DELEGATION of CPI(M) compromising its Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat, Delhi state secretary K M Tiwary, Dalit Shoshan Mukti Manch secretary Nathu Prasad, and activist P I Ravindernathan have visited the family of deceased who died while cleaning a septic tank of Delhi Jal Board in  Dabri area of West Delhi.

The victim Anil was not provided any safety gear or equipment at the time of cleaning. Despite the repeated warning by another labourer he had been asked to go into sewer with the help of a rope. Anil is very famous in his area for his services and used to advertise about his services through handbills and word of mouth. In the absence of development work by the government, private services are being used by people. DJB spokesperson shamelessly said it is an unauthorised work to make an illegal connection, now question is who is responsible for this? If the government is not able to provide authorised services where the common people would go? The statements of DJB spokesperson and Delhi government ministers are a shameful example of how insensitive they are when it comes to address the problems faced by manual scavengers or people involved in sanitation work in Delhi.

People from the area informed the delegation that sewers in the area are full and neither the MCD nor the departments of Delhi government are serious about cleaning the overflowing sewers. Therefore, common people are compelled to use private services for cleaning purposes, which is resulting in the deaths of several labourers in the capital city. This is the sixth death that has taken place in less than a week when five labourers died in DLF Capital Green in Moti Nagar.  So far 17 workers have died but the government has not taken any strict action to stop manual scavenging in the capital city.

This is happening despite the chief minister himself claiming that manual scavenging has been banned in Delhi but there is no mechanism to check on private business of manual scavenging which is thriving in the absence of proper government intervention.

CPI(M) Delhi state committee has decided to demonstrate against such incidents on September 24 at Delhi secretariat to raise the demands of safai karamcharis and common people.

CPI(M) demands:

1.      Provide fair and adequate compensation to the family of  Anil.
2.      File FIR against the responsible person who asked Anil to clean the sewer without providing safety gear.
3.      An inquiry against the responsible DJB officials should be carried out to ascertain the cause of problem in the area.
4.      A special drive needs to be initiated to clear the overflowing sewerage in Dabri area. Such exercise is required in other unauthorised colonies to stop this menace.
5.      Delhi government should come out with a time bound programme to make Delhi clean and announce infrastructural support system to curb private business which is thriving in the absence of government action.
6.      A special recruitment drive of cleaning staff needs to be carried out to absorb the workforce like Anil who are working in dangerous conditions as private service providers.

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