The Chairman of the Karnataka State Commission for Safai Karmacharis, M.R. Venkatesh, who visited Tyagi Nagar — a temporary township in Shravanabelagola — on Tuesday, ordered the closure of insanitary toilets and asked contractors who have hired workers for cleaning the townships to pay them a minimum wage of ₹14,500 a month.
Mr. Venkatesh and Gokul Narayanaswamy, member of the commission, visited the township and held a meeting with senior officers of the district administration, following a report in The Hindu on manual scavenging in the township . The Karnataka State Road Development Corporation has taken up construction of townships to accommodate people visiting Shravanabelagola during the Mahamastakabhisheka. “I have directed them to close the insanitary toilets immediately. They have to either convert them into sanitary toilets or demolish all of them,” Mr. Venkatesh told The Hindu .
A private contractor had hired people belonging to the Valmiki community, a Dalit community in Uttar Pradesh, for cleaning the insanitary toilets.
Employing human beings to clean insanitary toilets amounts to a violation of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013. “A case has to be filed against those who hired them. However, when we visited the spot, those who do the cleaning were not to be found. It seems the contractor has sent them back. If we wish to file a case, we need their presence and their caste certificate. As there were no employees, we have asked them to close the toilets,” Mr. Venkatesh said.