At least 347 sanitation workers have died in India over the past five years due to unsafe cleaning of sewers and septic tanks, with Uttar Pradesh reporting the highest number, the Center told the Lok Sabha Tuesday July 20.
In response to a question from two Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MPs, Manoj Tiwari and Subrata Pathak, Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Virendra Kumar said, “The government takes a serious cognisance of the deaths occurring due to hazardous cleaning of sewers and septic tanks,”
The center publishes annual mortality statistics for manual scavengers; 2019 saw the highest number of deaths in the past five years with 116, followed by 92 in 2017. The data also shows a statewide breakdown of numbers reported since 2017; While UP has the highest death toll at 51, followed by Tamil Nadu and Delhi at 48 and 44 respectively.
Referring to the measures taken by the Center to reduce such incidents, Kumar said that the constituent laboratory of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research has developed “a mechanical pipe cleaning system for urban and local entities with a density of population of 5000 mm”. Integrated solutions. It can clear sewer line blockages up to 300mm.
In addition, the government has formulated various programs for manual waste pickers such as National Action Plan for Mechanised Sanitation Ecosystem (NAMASTE), Swachhta Udyami Yojana, Self-Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers, and others.