The Centre has introduced automated cleaning and has decided to make mechanized cleaning of septic tanks and sewer lines compulsory. The government has amended the Prohibition of Employment of Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act.
In a historic move, the Union government has decided to amend the law to make automated cleaning of septic tanks and sewers mandatory, to end the age-old practice of manual scavenging.
To end the hazardous practice, which is believed to have existed since the beginning of civilization in India, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment will bring amendments to the Prohibition of Employment of Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation (PEMSR) Act. This was announced on the occasion of World Toilet Day, by the Centre on Thursday.
‘Safaimitra Suraksha Challenge’
Furthermore, the Ministry of Urban Affair, under its ‘Safaimitra Suraksha Challenge’ initiative, civic workers will be funded for buying cleaning machines. This initiative will ensure not to enter a septic tank or sewer line for cleaning it manually.
Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri., said that the government wants the workers to own the machines and use them when there is a requirement in the municipalities.
From ‘manhole’ to ‘machine-hole’
To bring in a change in the way the issue should be approached, the word ‘manhole’ will be replaced with ‘machine-hole’ in official usage.
The PEMSR Act prohibits-
- Construction or maintenance of insanitary latrines,
- Employment of any person for manual scavenging or hazardous cleaning of sewers and septic tanks.
- Engaging any person for hazardous cleaning of sewers and septic tanks by any person or agency
- Punishable with imprisonment of up to five years or a fine up to ₹5 lakh or both.