New Delhi. Samajik Samarasta Manch extends heartily congratulates the Central Government for extending the term of the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis by three years.
The government has taken a historic decision to extend the tenure of the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis. The previous government used to extend the Commission’s term by one year and sometimes for six months, due to which the Commission could not function effectively.
Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment has stated in the Lok Sabha on 02.12.2021 that 43,797 manual scavengers have been identified, out of which more than 42,500 are from the Scheduled Castes category. Manual scavengers are considered untouchables among the untouchables because of their profession. They have been humiliated by all sections of society.
Even after forming the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis in 1993, their issues have not been resolved yet. Many precious lives were lost while cleaning sewer despite strict laws. On 23.12.2021, four persons have died in Maharashtra (Solapur), three in Gujarat (Ahmedabad) on 16.12.2021, three in Madhya Pradesh (Singrauli) on 24.09.2021, one in Tamil Nadu (Chennai) on 15.01.2022 and two in Tamil Nadu (Kanchipuram) on 19.01.2022.
The Commission has played an effective role in implementing Hon’ble Supreme Court direction for disbursal of Rs. 10 lac to the 671 victims’ families so far. This payment is given to the victim’s family, whose Safai Karamchari, unfortunately, dies while working in the sewer.
Almost all the state governments have given the cleaning work to private contractors. The contractors do not follow the laws and rules, due to which the number of sewer deaths is not decreasing. Despite strict regulations and procedures, the contractor goes out of reach of the law by taking advantage of the legal lacuna. The aggrieved family is deprived of legal benefits. Therefore, the Commission needs to coordinate between the central and state governments to effectively minimise sewer deaths.
There are many problems of the Safai Karamcharis; after privatization, the state government does not take any direct responsibility for their problems. All state governments are similar in neglecting the fundamental issues of these workers. Delhi, UP, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu account for more sewer deaths. Safai Karamcharis acted as Health Soldiers (Frontline Workers) during the Corona pandemic.
The National Commission for Safai Karamcharis should be given more constitutional powers to discharge its duties effectively. Samajik Samrasta Manch is committed to providing social respect, dignity and equality to Safai Karamcharis.
All India Convenor
Samajik Samrasta Manch