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Maharashtra, Gujarat lag behind in compensation for sewer deaths

Committee reviews implementation of manual scavenging prohibition law

January 13, 2020 08:26 pm | Updated 08:27 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Photo for representational purpose only.

Photo for representational purpose only.

Of the 926 deaths inside sewers in the country, from 1993 till December 31, 2019, families of 172 victims were yet to receive compensation, with Gujarat having the highest number of cases where the amount was not paid or the payment was unconfirmed (48), while Maharashtra was yet to pay or confirm payment of compensation in any of its 32 cases, according to data from the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis (NCSK).

Lagging behind

During a meeting of the Central Monitoring Committee under the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013, which is meant to review the implementation of the law, on January 8, States that were found lagging behind in the rehabilitation of manual scavengers were asked to comply soon, NCSK Chairperson and Member of the Committee Manhar Valjibhai Zala said on Monday. He added that in most of the sewer death cases since 1993, when the NCSK was established, compensation to the families of the victims had been paid.

Tamil Nadu, which had the highest number of such deaths, had paid compensation in all but seven of the 234 cases. Gujarat was yet to pay or confirm payment in 48 of the 162 sewer deaths recorded in the State, and in 31 of those cases, the legal heir could not be traced, the data showed.

Practice continues

According to the NCSK, a total of 53,598 people, of which 29,923 were in Uttar Pradesh alone, had been identified as engaged in manual scavenging after surveys in 2013 and 2018. One-time cash assistance had been disbursed in 35,397 cases, with Uttar Pradesh accounting for 19,385 such people. Capital subsidy and skill development training had been provided to 1,007 and 7,383 of the identified manual scavengers, respectively, the data showed.

As per the provisions of the Act, Mr. Zala said District Vigilance Committees had been constituted in 21 States/Union Territories, State Monitoring Committees in 26, and State Commissions for Safai Karamcharis in eight.

States instructed

He said Social Justice Minister Thawarchand Gehlot, who chairs the monitoring committee, had issued instructions to State governments during the meeting, to comply with the Act. States that are yet to provide the complete lists of manual scavengers and sewer deaths were asked to do so in order for the compensation amount to be transferred to them from the Centre, he said.

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