No rehabilitation in sight for manual scavengers
TIMES NEWS NETWORK
YDERABAD: The state government’s plan to become the first manual scavengerfree state in the country by 2002 may remain merely on paper if action in this direction is of any indication.
The state government, responding to the recommendations of the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to liberate and rehabilitate manual scavengers, ordered the removal of all community dry latrines, where manual scavenging is being done.
As per the GO MS No. 359, issued on August 28, 2001, all the civic bodies had to demolish the community dry latrines in their respective areas within a period of three months.
Rehabilitation of manual scavengers and their dependents in economically viable alternative occupations was the main objective of the order.
The government had constituted an executive committee to review the progress in this direction.The committee, headed by the social welfare department secretary, comprised commissioners of social welfare, panchayat raj, municipal administration departments as members.
Consequent to the recommendations of the executive committee, the director, Municipal Administration, also issued a circular to the commissioners of all the municipalities on Sept. 10, to demolish dry latrines in their respective areas within a fortnight and send the compliance report. Promotion of low-cost septic toilets and suitable rehabilitation of the scavengers formed part of the other directions.
The circular also mentioned the exact number of dry latrines and their location in each municipality. The list was based on an extensive survey conducted by the social welfare department.
But most of the municipal commissioners are yet to take action. In all the 10 suburban municipalities, none of the community dry latrine has been demolished yet.
When contacted, some of the surrounding municipal commissioners told The Times of India that ‘‘resentment from the residents’’ was the main reason for not going ahead with the action plan. Some municipalities, including Uppal, Malkajgiri, Kapra and Gaddiannaram have now begun identifying alternate employment opportunities for the manual scavengers in their respective municipal areas, before going full steam with the demolitions.