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Ludhiana MC to set up helpline to report manual scavenging cases

The helpline is being set up under the Centre’s Safai Mitra Suraksha Challenge.
By HT Correspondent | Hindustan Times, Ludhiana, Ludhiana
UPDATED ON DEC 03, 2020 10:01 PM IST

With the municipal corporation (MC) prepping to take part in the Safai Mitra Suraksha Challenge, aimed to ensure that no person needs to enter a sewer or septic tank, it will soon launch a helpline for residents to report manual scavenging and clogged sewer lines.

The initiative was launched on November 19.

With an eye on the first prize of Rs 12 crore under the category with a population over 10 lakhs, the civic body will encourage mechanised cleaning of sewer lines and special teams will also be formed to deal with emergency cases. Responsible sanitation authority and emergency responsible sanitation authority will work in the city under this competition.

The 1,000 marks competition will be based on infrastructure development, innovation and citizen feedback on the cleaning of sewer lines. The MC will also have to bring in more machinery and safety kits and uniforms will also be provided to workers. Training sessions will also be organised.

Official requesting anonymity said that the MC has only 18 jetting machines and 24 desilting grab machines for the city for 95 wards. The workers do not have proper safety kits and manual scavenging is done at different parts of the city even when it is completely banned. The civic body will have to develop infrastructure and purchase more machinery. It will be very difficult for the MC to replace manual scavenging with mechanical desilting in old parts of the city, the official said.

The initiative was launched on the occasion of World Toilet Day. Monthly evaluation of the work done will be held in February, March, and April on call or by conducting field visits. The civic body will then send an application to the Centre in April and upload the required documents. The results will be announced on August 15.

MC Commissioner Pardeep Sabharwal said, “I had conducted a meeting regarding this initiative with MC officials on Wednesday evening and strict directions have been issued to stop manual scavenging. BSNL will issue the helpline number, and an application has been forwarded to them by the civic body. If need be, machinery will also be purchased to promote mechanical desilting. The MC is already getting the major sewer lines cleaned in the city through super suction machines by hiring a contractor.”

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