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Wednesday, Oct 23, 2019

Give jobs to kin of those who died cleaning sewers: HC to Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh

The Punjab and Haryana HC took note of media reports that despite a ban on manual scavenging, the practice is still going on unabated in many parts of the two states.

india Updated: Oct 05, 2019 11:28 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
The Punjab and Haryana high court has reiterated the ban on hazardous cleaning of sewers, septic tanks and manholes manually.
The Punjab and Haryana high court has reiterated the ban on hazardous cleaning of sewers, septic tanks and manholes manually. (Raj K Raj / HT File Photo )
         

The Punjab and Haryana high court on Friday directed the governments of Punjab and Haryana and the Chandigarh administration to give Class-4 jobs and a monthly pension of Rs 35,000 to the dependents of those who died while cleaning sewers and manholes.

The high court bench of justice Rajiv Sharma and justice HS sidhu issued a slew of directions taking note of media reports that despite a ban on manual scavenging, it is still continuing unabated in many parts of the two states.

“The employment or engagement of manual scavengers for cleaning of human excreta in sewer lines, septic tanks and manholes is violation of their human rights. It is a dehumanising practice. It cannot be permitted to continue in perpetuity,” the bench said.

The court has reiterated the ban on hazardous cleaning of sewers, septic tanks and manholes manually and asked both the governments and the UT administration to ensure that no person is employed for the purpose and cleaning be done mechanically. They have been asked to provide financial assistance, incentives for the use of modern technology within three months.

‘Demolish every insanitary toilet’

The court ordered that every insanitary toilet be demolished and no one is allowed to construct such toilets. Any contract on manual scavenging between government bodies and a contractor has been declared void.

It also directed that every manual scavenger be identified and a list be published and steps taken for their rehabilitation within three months. The person identified be allotted a residential plot and financial assistance for building a house, responsibility for the same has been entrusted to district magistrates.

The court also asked the administrations to register FIRs against those who employ people in manual scavenging and put out notifications banning hazardous cleaning of sewer/septic tank manually within 15 days.

The Centre too has been asked to implement self employment scheme for rehabilitation of manual scavengers. The National Safai Karamcharis Finance and Development Corporationhas been asked to sanction the loans.

Local bodies asked to implement segregated waste collection

The high court also directed that officers in their areas of jurisdiction in local bodies and panchayats would ensure cleaning of public places and take steps so that littering does not take place. All workers for cleaning the streets and removal of garbage should be given necessary equipment, including uniforms, shoes, gloves and other implements.

The local governments and village panchayats have been asked to ensure door-to-door collection of segregated solid waste and consider fining the waste generator who does not segregate the waste.

The court also directed that segregated waste be transported properly and processing facilities be put in place within six months. The local governments have also been directed to frame rules against defacement of public places within three months.

The bench said that municipal commissioners, additional commissioners, deputy commissioners, executive officers, councillors, municipal corporations and panchayati raj institutions would be responsible to ensure that no garbage is visible within their areas. They will have to submit compliance reports February 12.

First Published: Oct 05, 2019 11:28 IST

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