Delhi sanitation workers’ protest

‘No mention in PM’s scheme’

September 16, 2018 10:20 pm | Updated 10:20 pm IST - NEW DELHI

PUDUCHERRY, 01/10/2016: Manual scavengers busy in cleaning storm water drain on Lenin Street in Puducherry on October 01, 2016.
Photo: S.S. Kumar

PUDUCHERRY, 01/10/2016: Manual scavengers busy in cleaning storm water drain on Lenin Street in Puducherry on October 01, 2016. Photo: S.S. Kumar

Two days after the Prime Minister launched Swacchata Hi Seva, a national cleanliness drive, safai karamcharis (sanitation workers) from across Delhi will start their own campaign against manual scavenging to increase awareness and protest the deaths of five men in a city sewer last week.

“The Prime Minister is completely ignoring our people, who actually do the cleaning,” said Bezwada Wilson, national convenor of the Safai Karamchari Andolan (SKA), which is coordinating the campaign. The PM’s televised speech on Saturday made no mention of manual scavengers, or the need to eliminate the practice.

Creating awareness

Mr. Wilson said that sanitation workers intended to hold daily awareness walks, marches and demonstrations from Monday, culminating with a protest at Parliament Street.

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) asked innovators, NGOs, research institutions, companies and cities to propose technology and business solutions to clean urban sewers and septic tanks without human entry in July. “We have received 34 proposals, which are being evaluated by a jury,” a senior MoHUA official told The Hindu .

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