Manual scavenging in Telangana: On the occasion of World Environment Day on Monday, Telangana government commissioned a fleet of 70 mini sewer-jetting machines in order to end the practice of manual scavenging in Hyderabad. The machines were dedicated to the Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWSSB) by K T Rama Rao, who is Telangana’s Minister for Municipal Administration and Urban Development. The sewer-jetting machines will be used for cleaning clogged sewage lines in Hyderabad, according to The News Minute.
Manual scavenging has been banned in India for the last four years under the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act 2013, but the practice of using humans to clear sewage lines still finds favour with many municipalities across the country. In March this year, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot told the Rajya Sabha that 12,737 manual scavengers are in the service of 13 states across the country, as reported by the Indian Express.
The sewer-jetting machines which cost Rs 26 lakh each would be maintained by the HMWSSB. Each of the 70 divisions of the Metropolitan body will get a single machine. In the last one year, Hyderabad has witnessed the deaths of at least four manual scavengers according to The News Minute.
Gehlot also told the Rajya Sabha that the government is providing one-time cash assistance, skill development training and capital subsidy to rehabilitate manual scavengers. He added that the government is encouraging the use of modern machines in order to discourage manual cleaning of human excreta from dry latrines and sewers, according to the Indian Express.