Over 5,000 manual scavengers identified so far in Karnataka

Minister Kota Srinivas Poojari speaking in Legislative Council in Belagavi on Monday.

Minister Kota Srinivas Poojari speaking in Legislative Council in Belagavi on Monday.

Minister for Social Welfare Kota Srinivas Poojari said the State Government was committed to stopping manual scavenging in the State and rehabilitating those in the job. The Minister was responding to the calling attention motion moved by Congress member B.K. Hariprasad on manual scavenging being practised in some places, even though it had been prohibited by law, in the Council on Monday.

The State Government had taken up a survey of manual scavengers. So far, the survey had been completed in 12 districts and 5,080 manual scavengers had been identified. The survey in the remaining districts was still on. As per the Act, the government had been rehabilitating the workers by extending them financial help.

During the debate on the issue, at one point, the Minister remarked that urban bodies like BBMP were not serious on prohibiting the practice. The local bodies had been provided with machinery to avoid hiring men for the job. Recently, he had chaired a meeting of officers. One more meeting would be held before January 10. Elected representatives would also be invited, he said.

Mr. Hariprasad expressed disappointment over repeated incidents of manual scavenging in the State, despite strict laws to prohibit it. “We have acquired technology to reach Mars, but have failed miserably to stop the inhuman practice. Basavalingappa had brought a law prohibiting manual scavenging in 1970s for the first time in the country. There have been laws subsequently in 1993 and 2013. However, it has not stopped,” he said.

Further referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s act of washing the feet of sanitary workers in Varanasi and calling scavenging work a “spiritual experience”, Mr. Hariprasad said glorification of manual scavenging was unacceptable. Reacting to this, Mr. Poojari said the gesture should be seen as aimed at upholding equality.

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Printable version | Aug 8, 2022 3:44:28 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/over-5000-manual-scavengers-identified-so-far-in-karnataka/article37947713.ece