Report on manual scavenging ban sought

The High Court of Karnataka on Tuesday directed the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) to file a progress report on the steps taken to prevent manual scavenging.

During the hearing of a petition by People’s Union of Civil Liberty (PUCL), the Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Vikaramajit Sen and Aravind Kumar sought to know whether manual scavenging amounts to an offence. 

Following an affirmative reply by the petitioner, the Bench asked the BWSSB about the measures taken to prevent entry of sanitary workers into manholes.

The counsel for the BWSSB submitted that strict warning had been issued against manual scavenging and campaign had been launched to create awareness against the practice.

The Board also stated that it would procure all the 42 jetting machines by the end of August.

Officers told to apply mind

“Tell your officers to apply their mind and ensure that there should an effective implementation of the ban,” the Bench said.

Ravi Varma Kumar, the counsel for PUCL pointed out that nearly 56 percent of the underground drainages were being handled manually. 

The Bench said special equipment and gas mask should be provided to the workers who enter manholes whenever required. The Court directed the BWSSB to file a progress report within 15 days. Chairperson of BWSSB, Gaurav Gupta was present in the court during the hearing.

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