New Delhi, June 13 : Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Meira Kumar has emphasized the need to complete the conversion of dry latrines into water seal latrines by March 2009.
This will help in achieving the target of rehabilitation of remaining Manual Scavengers.
In a letter written to the Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, Kumari Selja, the minister said that conversion of dry latrines is key to removing the practice of manual scavenging.
To achieve permanent and sustainable rehabilitation, abolishing dry latrines in the country is the solution. She further suggested that this can be done under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment's scheme called Self Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers (SRMS) which is in force since January, 2007.
Smt. Kumar described that the Integrated Low Cost Sanitation (ILCS) Scheme of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, for conversion of dry latrines into water seal latrines, has been revised in February, 2008 and aims to convert the remaining dry latrines by March 2010.
Commenting on the draft Cabinet Note for revision in the ILCS scheme, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment had stressed that efforts in this direction should put in such a way that the targets of ILCS and SRMS, both can be achieved at their target dates.
In response, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation has assured to convert the existing dry latrines into water seal toilets by 2009.
Smt. Kumar referred to Section 3(1) of The Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, construction or maintenance of a dry latrine is prohibited and clarified that it does not, therefore, seem legally or otherwise appropriate to make the conversion of dry latrines conditional upon demands received from the individuals or State Government.
She urged Kumari Selja to review the above mentioned Section and ensure to complete the conversion by March 2009.