New Delhi [India], November 20 (ANI): Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri said that the Central government is committed to ensuring that no person needs to enter a sewer or septic tank in the interest of greater public hygiene.
Speaking at the launch of the Safaimitra Suraksha Challenge across 243 cities on World Toilet Day on Thursday, he said that the Safaimitra Suraksha Challenge aims to ensure that no life of any sewer or septic tank cleaner is ever lost again owing to the issue of 'hazardous cleaning'.
"The Government of India is committed to ensuring that no person needs to enter a sewer or septic tank, unless absolutely unavoidable and that too only with the necessary protection gear, in the interest of greater public hygiene," he said.
He further said that Safaimitra Suraksha Challenge is in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision who has always placed the safety and dignity of sanitation workers at the core of the Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban (SBM-U).
The Union Minister said that the prohibition of employment as manual scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act (2013) and various judgements of the Supreme Court expressly prohibit hazardous cleaning like manual entry into a septic tank or sewer without protective gear and observing operating procedures.
"Despite this, recurring episodes of human fatalities among those engaged in cleaning of septic tanks and sewers, typically belonging to the economically disadvantaged and marginalised communities of society, continue to be an issue of concern," he said.
Puri highlighted that the success of the challenge does not only depend on the intent and commitment of political representatives, bureaucrats or municipal authorities but also on the citizens of the country.
He appealed to everyone to be vigilant and responsible and play their part in saving the lives of the Sanitation or Swachhata commandos. (ANI)