Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: A Parliamentary committee has expressed dismay over the “failure” of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to take concrete steps for conducting a fresh survey to identify the potential scavengers who are to be liberated and rehabilitated under the “National Scheme of Liberation and Rehabilitation of Scavengers and their Dependents.”

In its 52nd report presented to the Lok Sabha here on Wednesday, the Public Accounts Committee on the Action Taken by the Government on the observations/recommendations contained in its 9th report, has said that there was no evidence to suggest that the Ministry had taken any follow-up action to persuade the State Governments to complete the survey expeditiously, even after a lapse of nearly 3 years since the date of their request to the State Chief Secretaries way back in 2004 for carrying out the survey. The committee has directed the Ministry to “wake up” now and ensure completion of the survey within a time-bound period.

Similarly, there was no information with regard to the physical targets laid and achievements made under the new ‘National Action Plan for Total Eradication of Manual Scavenging by 2007’ scheme.

Besides, the committee was “not even apprised” about the achievements made in respect of the number of scavengers rehabilitated under the Integrated Scheme for Rehabilitation being implemented by the Ministry that aims to rehabilitate all manual scavengers by 2008.

Deploring the “callous attitude” displayed by the Ministry in not furnishing the requisite information to the committee, the members have directed the Ministry to apprise them of the latest data on targets set and achievements made up to March 31, 2007.