Sanitation work consists of emptying bogs, wells and septic tanks, getting into manholes and sewers to restore or unclog them, transporting faecal waste, working remedy crops, in addition to cleansing public bogs or defecation round properties and workplaces.
The work of sanitation staff includes varied duties alongside the sanitation worth chain, together with cleansing bogs and areas, cleansing and emptying sewers, septic tanks and drains, managing water remedy crops waste, and so forth.
Sewage and sewage comprise micro organism, fungi, parasites and viruses that may trigger intestinal, lung and different infections.
Medical staff are continually working within the presence of toxic gases and chemical substances. Due to this, they get sophisticated and deadly ailments. Typically they must lose their lives whereas cleansing the septic tanks of the sewers.
Whereas cleansing, an individual dies and however, his household turns into destitute. The monetary situation of the household turns into squalid.
The administration does not take such harmful work significantly. Sanitary staff who clear sewers or septic tanks are usually not supplied with security tools by the contractor. For this reason well being staff die of suffocation from toxic gases whereas cleansing sewers or septic tanks. Even at the moment, the string of such deaths continues throughout the nation.
What does the regulation say?
In line with The Prohibition of Employment as Guide Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act 2013, cleansing a sewer or septic tank by getting into an individual is prohibited and a punishable offence. In an emergency, an individual may be lowered right into a sewer or septic tank in full security gear in order that their life is just not at risk.
The regulation additionally states that if an individual forces a well being employee right into a sewer or septic tank, that individual can be punished by regulation, imprisonment or tremendous, or each.
The Supreme Court docket, in considered one of its orders associated to this (March 27, 2014), stated that the federal government ought to study all individuals who’ve misplaced their lives whereas cleansing the sewer or septic tank, and ought to be given compensation of Rs 10 lakh to their households.
However as a result of authorities inaction and lack of know-how of well being care staff and their households, the sufferer’s household doesn’t get even this compensation. Nevertheless, the compensation can’t be the price of human life. Nevertheless, the sufferer’s household will get some aid.
Cease Killing Us (Sewer Cleaners/Septic Tanks) A Marketing campaign by Safai Karmachari Andolan
Safai Karamchari Andolan (SKA) is a nationwide motion to eradicate handbook scavenging from India and has been working in 24 states of the nation for almost 40 years. Final 12 months, as of Might 11, 2022, SKA Nationwide Coordinator Bezwada Wilson has been operating a nationwide #Cease Killing Us marketing campaign.
A latest tweet from Bezwada Wilson says: “Those that at all times speak solely about their #ManKiBaat and nonetheless really feel abused ought to higher hearken to others like us to know what abuse is for generations | #Action2023 marketing campaign in opposition to sewer deaths and in septic tanks at Sitapur in SU.”
Other than Safai Karmachari Andolan, different organizations are additionally engaged on the issues of well being staff, akin to Dalit Adivasi Shakti Adhikar Manch (DASAM).
Some sewer/septic cleaners or members of the family of the deceased have shared their experiences that describe their grief. Listed here are some examples.
“Final 12 months, my husband Balbir died from inhaling poison gasoline whereas cleansing a personal septic tank. We now have three young children. I stay on hire. I’m unable to pay the hire to the owner on time. The owner threatens to depart residence. By some means I make a residing by working as a housekeeper. There are lots of issues,” says Meena Devi, 35, from Faridabad.
“I have never acquired any assist from the federal government. You’re essential individuals. Ask the federal government to assist us. Get compensation and a authorities cleansing job. That will be very form of you,” Devi stated.
“We’re compelled to place our fingers and physique into the bogs and sewers for our bread. I used to be injured whereas cleansing inside a sewer. My different two companions had been lifeless. My remedy continued for a lot of days. However I’ve not acquired any assist from the federal government. Nevertheless, Arvind Kejriwal has introduced monetary help of Rs 2.5 lakh to the injured. However I’ve not acquired any assist. Now I can’t work within the sewers. I’ve three kids. My spouse Soni and I work collectively as labourers, and the household survives. I stay on hire. How can we poor individuals increase our youngsters? The right way to train them to write down? I imply the federal government ought to assist the well being staff who get injured whereas cleansing the sewers,” stated Sher Singh , a 45-year-old sewer employee from Bhagya Vihar.
The contractual system have to be abolished
Ved Prakash, chairman of the Delhi Jal Board Sewer Division Labor Group, spoke about how the exploitation of sewer cleaners can’t cease till the apply of procurement continues.
“The sewer cleaner receives Rs 14,000 from the federal government and the contractor offers Rs 7,000 to 9,000. The place does the remainder of the cash go? All that is taking place with the connivance of presidency officers and contractors. There are scams within the medical sector and insurance coverage too. That is why the privatization of cleansing ought to be stopped. The federal government ought to immediately appoint the sewer cleaners,” says Prakash.
“There’s a have to agitate in opposition to the contract system. Our purpose ought to be to vary the insurance policies, not the federal government. The sewer employee should take away this concern. All organizations affected by the contract system should come to a “single platform. Solely once we get organized, will we be capable to strain the federal government to abolish the contract system,” stated Virendra Gaur, Lal Jhanda Municipal Employees Union.
Hannan Mollah, All India Kisan Sabha, spoke concerning the significance of commerce unions.
“All democratic organizations ought to come collectively on the difficulty of contracting apply. They need to increase their voice collectively. Unity will change the system. Your issues can be solved by altering the system. We now have to combat this battle every day and combat it on a big scale.”
Forty-year-old Anju introduces herself to everybody saying: Jai Bhem AND Lal Salam.
“I do cleansing work at JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru College). I’m very dissatisfied with the contract system. At JNU they’ve contracted us for cleansing. The contractor exploits us. They do not pay a wage for 3 months. husband Deshraj was doing cleansing work underneath contract. When he lobbied contractor for wage, he bought wage however bought faraway from work. All of us well being staff ought to unite and oppose the contract system. So long as the contract system contracts proceed, we’ll proceed to be exploited. Senior officers ought to help us on this marketing campaign.”
Sanjay Gehlot, chairman of the Delhi Safai Karamcharis Fee, stated that to resolve the issues of sewer staff, the contract system ought to be uprooted.
“We should unite to finish this apply. Memoranda have to be delivered to the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister. We should increase our voices on a big scale by taking to the streets.”
Ashok Tank, Joint Secretary, DASAM, says, “Those that work for sewer and septic cleansing underneath contract are immediately exploited by contractors. A few of these points have additionally come to our consideration that contractors are arbitrary even in giving per diem wages and clearly say they may solely pay this wage if you wish to do it then do it in any other case i’ll search for another person. staff. Now muster function is completed. The job is completed on a contract foundation. There isn’t any paid break day. If the sewer employee takes go away, they’ve their wages deducted for that day. When this cleansing job is common and everlasting, why are they momentary employed cleaners?”
“DASAM has recurrently represented the voices of those well being staff in recent times. Just lately, now we have organized capability constructing applications for cleansing employees, and so forth. We delivered a memorandum to Sanjay Gehlot of the Delhi Safai Karamcharis Fee, requesting that he formulated Suggestions to Delhi Jal Board to Preserve Healthcare Employees on Payroll We’re gearing up for a giant one Jan Andolano (public movement) to finish the contract system,” Tank stated.
Many sewer cleaners stated it had been 15 years since they final labored.
“We now have neither ESI card nor EPF. Once we are lowered into the sewer, now we have no security gear to put on to guard our lives. The contractor forces us into the sewer. In the event you refuse, he threatens dismissal Because of this soiled work, now we have many sorts of ailments. We do not have cash for remedy. So, one thing must be achieved for us,” Tank stated.
To enhance the state of affairs of sanitation staff, DASAM means that the federal government ought to immediately recruit staff and regulate sewer/septic and open drain works. Moreover, the method of cleansing open sewers/septic tanks/drains by non-public contractors ought to be stopped efficient instantly. Within the occasion of an damage to a sewerage employee, it ought to be ensured that he’s handled by the State Worker Insurance coverage Fund till he’s utterly wholesome. In case of an accident, the executing authority or individual ought to be held accountable and punished in line with the regulation. As well as, underneath the MS Act 2013, rehabilitation of sewer/septic/open cleaners ought to be offered and higher training and employment ought to be ensured for his or her kids.