‘K'taka not doing enough for manual scavengers’

A survey last year in six districts - Kolar, Bengaluru, Mangaluru, Mysuru, Kalaburagi, and Hubballi-Dharwad - found 1,720 manual scavengers. There could be at least 10,000 across the state," Hiremani guessed. (DH File Photo)

A pilot survey has identified 1,720 manual scavengers in Karnataka and the state government is not doing enough for their welfare, National Commission for Safai Karmacharis member Jagadish Hiremani said on Tuesday.

"The state government has stopped taking funds from the Centre, which is okay. But it is not using its own funds for the welfare of the manual scavengers," Hiremani told reporters, before taking up a review meeting with officials to look into the implementation of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013.

A survey last year in six districts - Kolar, Bengaluru, Mangaluru, Mysuru, Kalaburagi, and Hubballi-Dharwad - found 1,720 manual scavengers. There could be at least 10,000 across the state," Hiremani guessed.

While he said Karnataka was better compared to other states, the government had faltered on some aspects.

"For instance, there's a loan scheme under the National Safai Karamcharis Finance & Development Corporation (NSKFDC), for which Rs 120 crore has been earmarked. However, in the past two years, not a single loan has been granted in Karnataka," Hiremani said.

The Commission has directed the state government to purchase a robot, developed in Kerala, to replace manual scavenging in cities and district headquarters wherever UGD systems exist. "The robot costs Rs 3.50 lakh and the Centre has funds to help states procure them," he said.

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