Meira seeks Raghuvansh's cooperation in eradicating manual scavengin

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New Delhi, Jun 13 (UNI) Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Meira Kumar has urged Minister of Rural Development Dr Raghuvansh Prasad Singh to take urgent steps to ensure that all dry latrines in rural areas were converted into water seal latrines by March 2009, which is also the target date for rehabilitation of remaining manual scavengers.

She said eradication of the practice of manual scavenging was an area of very high priority for our government, which wanted it to be to be achieved through Enforcement of the Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993.

The conversion of dry latrines was key to eliminating the practice of manual scavenging, she said, pointing out that for the rehabilitation to be permanent, it was necessary to ensure that no dry latrines exist in the country.

The Self Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers (SRMS) was being implemented by the Ministry of Social Justice&Empowerment since January, 2007. It aims at rehabilitation of remaining manual scavengers and their dependents by March, 2009.

''All efforts are being made to complete the rehabilitation process by the target date,' Mrs Kumar said.

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, through its Integrated Low Cost Sanitation (ILCS) Scheme aims to convert the existing dry latrines into water seal latrines by March, 2010.

This scheme is limited to urban areas only. However, the vast majority of the population lives in rural areas for which the Total Sanitation Campaign Scheme was being implemented by the Ministry of Rural development Ministry with the aim to provide sanitary latrines to all households in rural areas by 2012. This includes conversion of dry latrines into pour flush latrines to eliminate the scourge of manual scavenging, she added.

UNI NAZ RSA BD1845

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