Rajasthan's Tonk town free from manual scavengers

Special Correspondent

Second city in the State, after Alwar, to become entirely free from the inhuman practice

NEW DELHI: The last batch of 63 women engaged in the manual scavenging work at Tonk in Rajasthan have been liberated by Sulabh International, making it second city in the state after Alwar to become entirely free from this inhuman practice. These women have been admitted to Sulabh International's vocational training institute where they will be trained and rehabilitated to join social mainstream.

“Tonk town is now free from manual scavengers. Now, no men or women are engaged in scavenging in this town. We are working to end this century old practice in keeping with the Centre's decision to end this inhuman way of earning livelihood,” Sulabh International Founder Bindeshwar Pathak said here on Wednesday. Manual scavenging of human excreta was banned in 1993 and the Union Cabinet recently set a deadline of March 31, 2010 to completely end this practice.

The leading NGO runs training institute ‘Nai Disha' at these places with the help of the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Rajasthan government, and so far over 400 scavengers have been trained in various skills and now earn their livelihood with dignity. Sulabh has so far rehabilitated 288 women in Tonk and 115 in Alwar.

As per the 1961 Census, there were around 35-lakh scavengers who used to clean human excreta. Later on, some of them switched over to other jobs like cleaning of roads and drains.

Though their number has come down drastically, but still some people are involved in this job and efforts are on to end this process completely at the earliest, Dr. Pathak added.