Pune (Maharashtra, India): At least 325 people have lost their lives in accidents while undertaking hazardous cleaning of sewer and septic tanks in the last five years, informed by Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale.
This information was released by Athwale in reply to a question asked by house member Dushyant Singh on the details of the total deaths that occurred due to manual scavenging in the country.
Replying to this Athawale said, "No death has been reported due to engaging in manual scavenging (which is lifting of human excreta from unsanitary latrines as defined in Section 2(1) (g) of the MS Act, 2013)."
However, out of the total persons who have died during the last five years, family members of only around 276 persons have received compensation during the said period, Athawale informed.
As per the ‘Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013’ manual scavenging is a prohibited activity in the country. Any person or agency who engages any person for manual scavenging in violation of the provisions of the MS Act, 2013 is punishable under Section 8 of the above Act, with imprisonment up to 2 years or a fine up to Rs. One Lakh or both, Athawale said in his reply.
The Central Government has provided compensation of Rs. 10 lakh to the families of those who have died while cleaning sewers/septic tanks. Central and State Governments are providing rehabilitation benefits, as per their schemes to the family of persons who died due to hazardous cleaning
As per information shared by the minister, the maximum number of people who died in Uttar Pradesh was 52, followed by Tamil Nadu 43 and Delhi 42 in the last five years. Maharashtra reported 33 deaths. (PTI)