Manual scavenging still thrives in city

Over 10,000 work under hazardous conditions

Updated - March 02, 2017 01:02 am IST

Published - March 02, 2017 01:00 am IST - HYDERABAD

HYDERABAD. 07/07/2010: A sewerage worker clearing a choked drain manually at Anandnagar on July 07, 2010. In spite of the Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993, the practice of employing scavengers is rampant in many parts of the city.  
Photo: Mohammed Yousuf

HYDERABAD. 07/07/2010: A sewerage worker clearing a choked drain manually at Anandnagar on July 07, 2010. In spite of the Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993, the practice of employing scavengers is rampant in many parts of the city. Photo: Mohammed Yousuf

The city, which is in the race for global IT destination tag, is home to ten thousand manual scavengers who work under hazardous conditions.

According to a study undertaken by Basthi Vikas Manch, these manual scavengers work in septic tanks and manholes and 80% of them are contractual workers.

Caste census

Though the civic agencies deny using their services and the socio economic and caste census of 2011 showed their numbers to be a little more than 100 in Telangana, the study found that manual scavenging is still thriving in many parts of the city.

“The permanent worker’s salary varies between ₹ 30,000 and ₹ 40,000.

Skin ailments

Many of the manual scavengers are working with the hope that they will get a permanent job some day.

In reality, the permanent worker is usually a supervisor and the contract workers do the job,” said Sumskrutha of Basthi Vikas Manch who also questioned the government’s failure in implementing the rehabilitation programmes. “In 2014-15, ₹ 70 crore was sanctioned but only ₹ 35 crore was utilized.”

Survey in city

The organisation also conducted a survey in certain parts of the city with large population of manual scavengers.

sIt was found that 41% in Cantonment Quarters and 90% in Valmiki Nagar suffer from skin ailments which can be directly traced to the dangerous and unhygienic nature of work without safety gear.

The survey also showed that 67% of those in Valmiki Nagar suffer or have suffered from TB or Malaria and other such diseases. Fever and stomach pain also seemed to be rampant especially among the manual scavengers surveyed in Valmiki Nagar as 86% of them complained of fever and stomach pain.

List of demands

After releasing the report, the members put forward some demands to the government which included vaccination and regular health check ups for the workers, compensating to the family of the deceased manual scavengers, providing safety equipment, issuing health cards dignity campaigning for workers.

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