Manual Scavenging waiting to see the end of tunnel

Manual scavenging still at large in Chennai even after constant directs against it by the Madras High Court.

The fate of manual scavengers in the city is still precarious even after six years of continual agitation . In 2009, Ananth Narayanan, founder of changeindia had filed a PIL to abolish this menial work carried out by workers belonging to low castes. Soon after, the Madras High Court passed an order under section 7 of the ‘ Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act 2013’   that reinforced all provisions of the ban.

Favourable verdict was obtained from the High Court on this matter and plans for rehabilitating the scavengers were also laid. But since then, no radical change has taken place.

Expressing his contempt to the adamant ways of Chennai Corporation, Narayanan said, ” In order to realize this dream, more activists , organizations and individuals need to come together so as to throw light on such corrupt officials. “

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He denied talking to us fearing it might lead to some problems with his employer.


“I’m not aware of any such ban. I get my money, that’s all what matters. ” Said a tired and dazed S. Paramasivan. A manual scavenger who earns Rs 750 per day by cleaning sewage holes. He is unaware of any regulation against his work. 

Their families do not get any compensation from the government when they die from diseases that they contract from the unhygienic environment. ” I lost my friend due to the nature of our work. ”  He further added.

Narayanan listed diseases like, leptospirosis, viral hepatitis and typhoid that commonly affect the workers.  He said, that several are treated on time but the labourers do not get any compensation for that duration of the illness.

It results in further marginalising the group. Reports on this subject also show that scavengers are mostly Dalit people. A. Narayanan blamed the Chennai Corporation officials for the persistent problem, whereas they were unavailable for comment.







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