HC orders action plan on manual scavenging

HC orders action plan on manual scavenging

The People’s Union for Civil Liberty (PUCL) had filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in 2009 seeking prevention of manual scavenging in the State. The PIL expressed concern over the instances of deaths while cleaning manholes and stated there had  been no respite for workers despite several reports on improving the working conditions of sweepers and scavengers.

The Karnataka State Legal Services Authority in its report, has recommended the use of jetting machines for areas that have a population of more than 50,000. The study found that there was no underground drainage in 66 town municipalities and 13 city municipalities. Bangalore Urban, Belgaum, Raichur, Tumkur, Gulbarga, Bellary, Bijapur and Dakshina Kannada districts had population of more than 20 lakh each and the report recommended that these areas should have cent per cent underground drainage facility by 2013.

It said 22 districts, which had a population ranging from 5.5 lakh to 19.5 lakh should be provided with underground drainage by 2016. The Authority has suggested to do away with appointment of pourkakarmikas on contract basis. The action plan to be formulated would be based on the report of the Legal Services Authority.

Elephant corridors

The Union government has submitted before the High Court that it has allotted Rs 19 crore to maintain elephant corridors and habitats across the country.
In an affidavit, the Central government has stated that a sum of Rs 2.37 crore has been allotted to Karnataka, which has around 5,600 elephants.

The Court was hearing a suo motu case related to death of elephants in Kabini backwaters in 2008. The Division Bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar expressed concern that the Centre has allotted only 10 per cent of the budget to the State while the State had the highest jumbo population.

It directed the Principal Secretary to Forests Department to form a Wildlife Advisory Committee and chalk out an action plan for spending the Central funds, within two weeks.

The Department has been given another two weeks to submit the report to the Court and also the Centre. The Court observed that the issue was critical as the pachyderms were straying into human habitats and man-animal conflict was on the rise.

The Government, in its earlier submission detailed the measures it had taken to prevent death of elephants in the State. The Karnataka Legal Services Authority had also submitted a report on the delay in taking up preventive actions.

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