Legislation to end the “insidious” practice of manual scavenging has failed in India, which still has 340,000 manual scavengers – a matter of “utter shame,” National Human Rights Commission chairman K.G. Balakrishnan said Friday.
“In the 1993 (The Employment of Manual Scavenges and Construction Of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, manual scavenging is an offence but in the last 20 years, not a single prosecution has been laid,” Balakrishnan said at the National Conference on Manual Scavenging and Sanitation here.
He said the act failed to address the most “insidious” forms of manual scavenging such as cleaning manholes and septic tanks. The act did not fix responsibility of states that have made half-hearted attempts to abolish this practice, he said.
“There can be no justification in delay in abolishing this practice,” he added. “Total 3,40,000 people are said to be manual scavengers in a free India. It is utterly shameful for this country.”