Millennium Post

High-level panel to end manual scavenging for cleaning sewers

NEW DELHI: A day after two brothers died after inhaling toxic fumes while manually cleaning a sewer at a shopping mall, Delhi Water Minister Rajendra Pal Gautam on Saturday promised citizens that a high-level committee will be appointed to put an end to manual scavenging for cleaning of sewers.
Assuring that incidents will not be repeated in the city, Gautam told Millennium Post: "The use of manual labours to work in sewers is a violation of the Supreme Court order. We cannot put people at risk."
The minister informed that he met the CEO of Delhi Jal Board and lawyers to form a vigilance committee which will make sure that use of manual scavenging to clean tank, sewers and other hazardous places is not repeated.
"I am making a vigilance committee to monitor such illegal activities and stop them," he said.
Gautam has started the process and, within a week, the committee will start functioning. "I have directed that with the help of DJB, we have to find out these contractors who use manual scavengers for their own profit."
He elaborated that to stop the use of such labourers first, the government should stop the profit churning activities of private contractors.
Earlier last week, five manual labourers died in Delhi, leading Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to ask DJB to submit the investigation report within 48 hours.
Meanwhile, the Delhi Water department found out that manual scavengers are also being engaged for cleaning tanks and sewers which do not come under the Jal Board, like those in shopping malls.
Talking about the deaths on Saturday, Gautam said: "My prime focus is people and I cannot let anyone risk their life, be it for work under the Board or outside."
The minister assured that stringent action would be taken against the contractors related to these works. "No one will be spared because no one has the right to play with the life of poor people," he said.
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