Pictures of sanitation workers in Noida cleaning drains without protective gear surface online, authorities say equipment provided to all

Sanitation workers engaged by the Noida Authority have allegedly been found cleaning sewage without safety gear like gloves and boots, in violation of a central law that prohibits manual scavenging in the country.

Press Trust of India November 14, 2019 20:46:11 IST
Pictures of sanitation workers in Noida cleaning drains without protective gear surface online, authorities say equipment provided to all
  • Noida Authority officials, however, maintained that they have provided safety gear to all workers

  • City-based social activist Vikrant Tongad said he noticed the flagrant violation of the law when the pictures were being shared by the residents

  • The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013, prohibits the employment of manual scavengers

Noida: Sanitation workers engaged by the Noida Authority have allegedly been found cleaning sewage without safety gear like gloves and boots, in violation of a central law that prohibits manual scavenging in the country.

Pictures shared on social media purportedly showed sanitation workers cleaning drains, with locals claiming that the violations occurred in the Garhi Kondli village in Sector 150 on Tuesday.

Noida Authority officials, however, maintained that they have provided safety gear to all workers.

"We have provided safety gears to all workers. It may have happened that these workers (working without gear) had taken them off on their own for a brief period and got photographed during that time. Otherwise, we have given safety gear to all," Noida Authority's Senior Project Engineer (Public Health) SC Mishra told PTI.

City-based social activist Vikrant Tongad, who shared the purported pictures on Twitter, said he noticed the flagrant violation of the law when the pictures were being shared by the residents of Garhi Kondli village who were happy that "at last the drains were being cleaned".

"The sanitation work in villages like these is in poor condition. It was after several requests to the Noida Authority that drains got cleaned there but the condition in which the sanitation workers were working is a violation of human rights," he told PTI.

"The sanitation workers were hired by a private contractor engaged by the authority for the work," he claimed.

The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013, prohibits the employment of manual scavengers, the manual cleaning of sewers and septic tanks without protective equipment and mechanical devices.

In May this year, two contractual workers had died after they got trapped underground and suffocated to death while laying a sewage line in Salarpur village in Sector 107.

A total of 814 sewer deaths have been reported in India since 1993 till July this year, with Uttar Pradesh being the third highest on the list recording 78 deaths, behind Tamil Nadu (206) and Gujarat (156), according to a data by the National Commission for Safai Karmacharis.

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