Two persons are seen cleaning up a blocked drain chamber which had collapsed.

Images expose manual scavenging in Mangaluru city mayor denies it happened
news Crime Friday, October 20, 2017 - 09:39

Despite the ban on manual scavenging, another incident has come to light in Mangaluru.

On Wednesday, photos of two men lifting night soil in the city’s Bunder area began circulating on social media, reports TOI.

Two persons are seen cleaning up a blocked drain chamber which had collapsed. This incident has occurred despite manual scavenging being banned under the Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act 1993, TOI reported.

Nithin Kuthar, a member of Democratic Youth Federation of India, clicked the photographs of the incident and registered a complaint with the Mangaluru City Corporation.

“I was walking near Bunder on Wednesday morning and I saw one man enter an underground drainage chamber. The chamber walls had collapsed and the man was collecting night soil in a plastic container, while another man, who was standing outside the collapsed chamber, was lifting the collected container filled with night soil with the help of a rope,” said Nithin.

The two men were not wearing any safety gear as seen in the pictures. “They had rolled up their sleeves and pants. Both of them were not wearing any masks or proper footwear. I recorded the incident and informed the other DYFI leaders and members immediately,” Nithin added.

Nithin, however, did not know who had employed the men for the job. However, Mangaluru Mayor, Kavitha Sanil denied allegations of manual scavenging and said that the workers were reconstructing the collapsed wall of the manhole.

“The contract to repair the damaged walls of a drain chamber was given to a contractor from Bunder. He had employed men to construct the wall. They were actually constructing the wall and not doing manual scavenging,” Mayor Kavitha told TOI.

The incident was brought to the attention of Dakshina Kannada district in-charge minister B Ramanath Rai, who said that he was not aware of such an incident. He, however, told the media he would look into the issue and take necessary action.

Additional Deputy Commissioner Kumar has directed the MCC Commissioner to look into the issue and file a complaint.

“So, the MCC will not find out why workers who were supposed to reconstruct the wall were cleaning night soil? Why were the drain clearing machines not deployed to clear the manhole before the men began their work? We see so many deaths in our state because of manual scavenging? Who gave the contractor the right to put the lives of these men at risk?” Nitin questioned.

 

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