The Capital has become the first state in the country to ban manual scavenging, chief minister Sheila Dikshit said on Tuesday. Dikshit made the announcement while addressing a function organised by Delhi Commission for Safai Karamcharis.
"Henceforth, no safai worker would be allowed for manual sewer cleaning," she said.
Last month, the Supreme Court had pulled up the Centre for failing to enact a law banning manual scavenging.
The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Bill, 2012, is pending in Parliament.
According to the Bill, the district magistrate has to ensure that no person within his/her jurisdiction is engaged as a manual scavenger.
It makes it mandatory for municipalities, cantonment boards and railway authorities to construct adequate number of sanitary community latrines within three years of the Act coming into force.
In her address, Dikshit said the Dalits have struggled a lot for decades and it was time to remove obstacles coming in the way of their development.
"We have to work on the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi as well as Dr BR Ambedkar to ensure equality and eliminate discrimination and injustice," she said.
The CM said the city government has upgraded the status of the cleaning workers from unskilled to skilled labourers in order to give them more minimum wages.