A shocking article that appeared in the Times the other day, appalled my friend and I to the core.
According to the latest data released by the BMC courtesy of the RTI act, twenty five BMC conservancy employees die every month on an average due to the inhuman work conditions they are subjected to! These include the municipal sweepers, the nullah cleaners, the garbage collectors, among others.Twenty five people! That’s twenty five families whose lives are changed forever each month. That’s twenty five lives that could have been saved if the state had done its job! That’s twenty five times we fail as a country as well as human beings each month.
Most of the employees do not have access to elementary equipment like gloves or facilities to bathe after they finish their jobs. These workers are exposed to the deadliest kind of filth and disease everyday. Studies like this prove that this plight is shared by cleaning staff all over the country.
To top it all, they are subjected to humiliation by everyone around due to the stench that stays with them the entire day.
A little search of our own brought up this interesting petition filed by the various rehabilitation organizations in 2004. It asks the Supreme Court to abolish the manual scavenging of garbage. It has been two years since the petition was filed.
How can we, in this day and age, subject our fellow human beings to such horrifying torture? India is one of the few countries in the world that still allows the practice of manual scavenging to continue.
We need to do something about this and we need to do it now! The blogging community needs to take up this cause and bring the plight of these helpless workers to everyone’s notice. We need to ensure that this is not forgotten as just another piece of news. We can’t afford to let them down again.
My friend Pankti has done quite a bit of research on the matter and you can read her views here.
For more information on how you can help, contact the Safai Kamgar Parivartan Sangh (the body which represents the BMC workers) at +91-22-24102694.