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No manual scavengers in KGF, says survey

Krishnamurthy, Kolar Gold Fields, May 31, 2013,DHNS:
Naveen Raj Singh (left), then commissioner of the Department for Social Welfare, visited Kolar Gold Fields in October 2011, and met the family members of the three Safai Karmacharis who died in an inspection chamber accident. DH file PHOTO

The survey conduced by City Municipality has found not even a single manual scavenger in its limits. However, according to the Census 2011 numbers, there are 37 manual scavengers in the CMC limits.

Municipal Commissioner Balachandra said the survey covered more than 1,000 safai karmacharis. The municipality had given the survey wide publicity and had warned of registering a complaint against anyone found involved in manual scavenging. The local body had initiated strict measures after the death of three men in a manhole.

Officials say that it had already been two years since the Census was conducted and there was a lot of difference in the ground realities now and then. They say manual scavengers cannot be found in the municipal limits and manholes were now being cleaned with the help of machines, in compliance with the report submitted to the government and the court.

The mines area in Kolar Gold Fields had the highest number of safai karmacharis in the district and manual scavengers were in equal numbers. In fact, safai karmacharis also used to double as manual scavengers. There was a remarkable change in the situation after the mining operations came to a halt.

Several manual scavengers working in the mines colony stopped their profession. While a majority of them had crossed the age of retirement, some migrated to Bangalore, Tamil Nadu and other places in search of job. A few who were in the job shifted to other professions soon after there were indications that manual scavenging would be banned.

However, there were allegations that some were into the profession surreptitiously.
The issue came up for discussion in the CMC meeting also. It was alleged that though the no one was into profession, numbers were being created by some organisations to avail benefits of government schemes.


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