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NCSK asks states for fresh count of manual scavengers

PTI 23 Nov 2014, 12:00:38 PM IST

New Delhi: Dissatisfied with the numbers declared by state governments on the count of manual scavengers, the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis (NCSK) has sought an enumeration of their actual population for rehabilitation purposes.

The Commission has written to all state governments asking them to prepare a “fresh list” of scavengers within two months.

The Commission has planned to carry out rehabilitation measures by providing alternate livelihood options for such scavengers.

National Commission for Safai Karamcharis, Chairman M Shivanna said the move would help in a big way in getting the right number of manual scavengers in every state.

“For instance, one state in the south had declared that there was no manual scavenger in their state. But, news reports, which were published after the state's declaration, claimed that an individual lost his life, while engaging in manual scavenging.

“This clearly shows that there is some mismatch between the declared numbers and the reality,” Shivanna told PTI.  

He underlined that the revived initiative to identify such individuals, who are involved in manual scavenging would help in a big way for keeping them away from this occupation permanently.

“We have asked the state governments to include all kinds of manual scavengers, including those entering man holes for cleaning apart from workers carrying night soil manually,” he said.

After the identification of manual scavengers, steps would be taken to provide training for them to switch over to other professions, for which financial assistance would be extended by the Centre.

The Commission, whose main objective is to study, monitor and evaluate the implementation of the programmes and schemes has also asked the state governments to constitute state commissions for ‘safai karamcharis'.

According to Shivanna, about nine states already have commissions for safai karamcharis, while the rest are yet to constitute such a body.

“We have written to chief ministers seeking a commission in their respective state for better coordination between the the state and the national commission. A few states have responded positively,” he added.