Haryana Promises Sewer Cleaners ₹10 Lakh Insurance & Safety Gear, But It’s Just A Start

You may regularly come across sewer workers in your city who enter the manhole to clean the sewage and ensure proper working of the drainage system. But, according to the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013, humans are banned from being appointed as manual scavengers. Nevertheless, many sewage workers can still see them working even in the absence of proper safety gear, oxygen masks, and bodysuits.

Some states have opted to introduce robot sewage cleaners. Yet, even today, human workers are forced to enter the sewers as cleaners. Furthermore, inadequate safety measures lead to accidents where workers could even lose their lives.

image source

According to the data collected by the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis (NCSK), at least 50 workers have died cleaning sewers in the first six months of 2019. The figures include information from only eight states in the country namely, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi, Punjab, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

In order to curb the grave injustice done to the sewage workers, the Haryana government has come up with a solution. Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on August 15, announced an insurance cover of Rs 10 lakh for sewer workers associated with government agencies in the state. He also assured people that more safety gear will be provided to the workers.

image source

“The government will pay for the policy, and in case of an accident resulting in loss of life, the amount will be paid to the family of the sanitation worker,” CM Khattar said.

“The scheme is only applicable to sewer workers working under or associated with the government. It will not apply to those employed by private agencies,” Khattar added.

This comes as welcome news in Haryana after four workers lost their lives after inhaling poisonous gases while cleaning a septic tank in Rohtak on June 26. Another report from Sonepat stated that two workers died after inhaling harmful gases while cleaning a sewer tank in May.
image source

The step taken by the Haryana government is certainly a good one. We hope other states too take inspiration from them and make strict rules to ensure the safety of sewer workers.

Kudos to the Haryana government!