India @ 64: No end to manual scavenging?

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Manual Scavenging
Kolar, Aug 14: Manual scavenging had been declared illegal in India in 1995, but is still rampant in many nook and corner of the nation. Manual scavenging, one of the most inhumane jobs on earth fetches Rs 100 per day to the scavengers for cleaning a pit of human waste and the only way they bring themselves to do this is by staying dead drunk on the job.

The poor scavengers has to deal with the extreme stench, inhaling toxic gases. Prabhu, a safai karmachari in Kolar Gold Fields said, "We drink from the age of 10 years. We can't enter a pit if we are not drunk, so we drink from the previous night. I can't eat if I see food as I think of the waste in the pit. Many friends have died young because of breathing problems."

Geetha has four children. Her husband Babu, a manual scavenger, died last year, claimed by asthma. Geetha has no job and no means to support her children.

"No one is ready to give us work. I have four children, what do I do? I don't have money to fix the roof in the rains. My children will also become manual scavengers," Geetha said.

Though this shitty job has banned, in reality around 8000 manual scavengers live by clearing human waste in Karnataka. Apart from government apathy, socially too, they are considered untouchables and have little chance of getting other jobs.

Former law minister of Karnataka Suresh Kumar said, "If any single case comes to our notice, the project director and the commissioner will be held responsible and he will be dealt with suitably."

OneIndia News

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