'Centre has asked states to rehabilitate manual scavengers'
New Delhi: The Centre has directed all the states to provide alternate employment to those involved in manual scavenging so that they can leave the "dirty job", Union Minister Krishna Tirath said on Thursday.
"I would like to urge you to leave this work (manual scavenging) right now. The central government is with you. An order has already been sent to the state governments to provide alternative employment to you under MNREGA and other government schemes," Tirath told a group of manual scavengers from across the country.
The Women and Child Development Minister was speaking at the culmination of the National Peoples' march for the total eradication of manual scavenging.
The march was launched in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, on November 30 last year and culminated in Delhi today. Around 1,000 people marched through 18 states and 200 districts for 63 days, seeking prohibition of manual scavenging.
Around 3,000 people were liberated from this inhuman practice during the yatra by the marchers, the organisers claimed.
Tirath also called upon the people participating in the march to give their suggestions to strengthen the Bill which aims to eradicate manual scavenging from the country.
"It's up to you to make the upcoming law strong, all your suggestions will be implemented in it so that it benefits you in the best possible way," she said.
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court had pulled up the Centre for failing to enact the law banning manual scavenging. The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Bill, 2012 is pending in Parliament.
According to the Bill, the district magistrate has to ensure that no person within his/her jurisdiction is engaged as a manual scavenger or constructs an insanitary latrine and manual scavengers are rehabilitated.
It makes it mandatory for municipalities, cantonment boards and railway authorities to construct adequate number of sanitary community latrines within three years of this Act coming into force.
If anyone employs a manual scavenger or constructs an insanitary latrine, he shall be penalised with imprisonment up to one year or a fine of up to Rs 50,000 or both.