NHRC issues notice to Delhi CS over manual scavenging, sewage cleaning

New Delhi, April 6 : The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Wednesday issued a notice to Delhi Chief Secretary over manual scavenging and sewage cleaning in the National Capital. Despite specific judgements given by the Apex Court and guidelines issued from time to time by different government agencies, the sewage workers were still being exposed to extreme danger and subjected to indignity by public authorities, NHRC said in a statement here. The Commission sought a detailed report by specifically intimating the measures that the Delhi government has already taken or was likely to take action to prevent such gross violation of human rights of poor and underprivileged people, who were susceptible to be employed for this type of manual scavenging or sewage cleaning, without any mechanical device by the public/private organisations. The NHRC took suo motu cognisance of a media report with the photographs of a man chest-deep in a muck standing inside a drain in the Kashmere Gate area of Delhi, reportedly under the PWD department. The Commission observed that the incident indicates that despite unwarranted deaths in sewers and sheer indignity of the work, manual cleaning of drains continues in the city. The Commission had issued advisory on Protection of Human Rights of the person engaged in Manual Scavenging or Hazardous Cleaning on September 24 last year, which was circulated to the Chief Secretaries of all States and Administrator of all UTs and the on Ministries of Social Justice and Empowerment, Housing and Urban Affairs and to the Secretary, National Commission for Safai Karmacharis. CM RJ

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