Declare districts manual scavenger free by Sept 22: Local govt dept

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Chandigarh, September 17: Swiftly acting upon the letter of the Punjab State Safai Karamchari Commission, the Local Government Department today issued instructions to all the Municipal Commissioners and Additional Deputy Commissioners (Urban Development) for ensuring the strict compliance of “The Prevention of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013″, besides furnishing a report of declaring their districts as “Manual Scavenger Free” by September 22.

Disclosing this here, Commission Chairman Mr. Gejja Ram Valmiki informed that in a letter dated September 3, 2021, the commission had expressed concern over the violations of “The Prevention of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Act, 2013” at some places and asked to clean sewers/gutters from only those sewer men of Municipal Corporations, Municipal Councils and Nagar Panchayats, equipped with fully safety gears, besides ensuring strict compliance of the Act.

The Chairman informed that the LG department has also entrusted all the Municipal Commissioners and ADC (UD) with the duty of getting confirmation from the concerned Deputy Commissioner that their district is free from manual scavenging and no person is now engaged or employed as manual scavenger and furnish the report by September 22, 2021. Similarly, the CEO, Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board has also been asked to ensure strict compliance of the Act in all the institutions under their purview.

“The Chief Engineers of Municipal Corporations and Councils have been instructed to ensure that the cleaning of sewers and manholes should be executed only with the help of machines and under any circumstances; no services of the persons should be taken for cleaning the manholes and sewers”, the letter reads.

In case of any loss due to negligence, it will be considered as personal responsibility of the concerned official, hence they should ensure that their respective departments strictly adhere to “The Prevention of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Act, 2013” in all cases, it further stated.

Citing the previous letters in this regard, the LG department has also asked to re-ensure the action on the notification issued by the Welfare Department, Punjab on July 8, 2016 specifically regarding Section 7 of the Act, which states that “No person, local authority or any agency shall engage or employ, either directly or indirectly, any person for hazardous cleaning of a sewer or a septic tank.”




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