941 died since 1993 during ‘hazardous cleaning’ of sewers: Govt

New Delhi: No deaths have been reported from manual scavenging in the country but 941 people have died since 1993 while undertaking “hazardous cleaning” of sewers and septic tanks, the Parliament was informed on Wednesday.

“No deaths are reported due to ‘manual scavenging’ (lifting of night soil from the insanitary latrines) as defined under Section 2 (1) (g) of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013, but 941 deaths have occurred since 1993 while undertaking ‘hazardous cleaning’ sewers and septic tanks.

“Of these, the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis (NCSK) has ensured payment of full compensation in 650 cases and partial compensation in 142 by the state governments. No death has been reported from Jharkhand,” Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply.

He said that the Swachh Bharat Mission, launched in 2014, has succeeded in replacing nearly all the insanitary latrines, and under this programme, 10.78 crore sanitary toilets have been constructed in the rural areas and 63 lakh in the urban areas.

“After Swachh Bharat Mission, most of the insanitary toilets have been converted into sanitary toilets, thereby precluding the existence of manual scavenging,” he said.

The Minister also said that based on the survey of people who were engaged in the manual scavenging since 2013, 58,098 persons have been paid one time cash assistance of Rs 40,000, 16,057 have been given training in alternative occupations, and 1,387 persons have been given loans for starting their own enterprises.

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