'We Use Machinery': PCMC Denies Allegations Even As Workers Seen Manually Cleaning Drains (PHOTOS)

'We Use Machinery': PCMC Denies Allegations Even As Workers Seen Manually Cleaning Drains (PHOTOS)

Manual scavenging was banned in our country almost 10 years ago, and the hazardous cleaning of sewers and septic tanks without protective gear is prohibited under the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013

Indu BhagatUpdated: Tuesday, June 25, 2024, 03:32 PM IST
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'We Use Machinery': PCMC Denies Allegations Even As Workers Seen Manually Cleaning Drains (PHOTOS) |

Despite a ban on cleaning drainage manually, several workers working on a contractual basis under the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) were seen cleaning the rainwater drains without any safety equipment or medical aid.  

The labourers were found standing in drains with knee-deep sludge, without hand gloves or body kits. Although the civic body has machinery available for cleaning the drain lines, sanitary workers were made to clean the drainage manually, claimed a social activist. However, officials deny this, saying no manual scavenging is being done.



Advocate Sagar Charan, a member of the district vigilance committee of the government of Maharashtra, wrote a letter to PCMC, urging the authorities to take strict action against the officials for allowing manual cleaning of these drains He suggested forming a committee to investigate the matter.

He said, “Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013, Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955, and prevailing laws have been violated. I am sad to say that, even after informing the concerned authorities, there is no implementation of the rules laid by the government. The National Commission for Scheduled Castes also issued a notice to the civic body. Despite all of that, the rules are being violated, and the lives of these workers are in grave danger. If any unfortunate event takes place while cleaning this drainage, who will be held accountable? The PCMC's negligence can cost a life. The worst part is that there is no medical assistance or kit available while they are working.”



Vijay Khorate, Additional Commissioner, PCMC, said, “We don’t use manual scavengers. We have machinery to perform the task, and we haven’t received any complaints so far regarding this. If you have pictures of people cleaning the drainage, please send them to us, and we will take action.”

The National Commission for Scheduled Castes, a constitutional body set up under Article 338 of the Constitution of India, issued a notice dated May 17, 2024, to the PCMC commissioner regarding the use of manpower to clean drains in violation of rules. Despite the notice and complaint, the civic body's inaction shows their negligence towards the safety of the sanitary workers.  


Manual scavenging was banned in our country almost 10 years ago, and the hazardous cleaning of sewers and septic tanks without protective gear is prohibited under the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013. The National Human Rights Commission issued an advisory in 2021, stating that sanitary workers “entering or cleaning septic tanks and sewer lines” are required to be provided with helmets, safety jackets, gloves, masks, gumboots, safety eyeglasses, torchlight, along with an oxygen cylinder.

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