Manual Scavenging: Punjab Safai Karamchari Commission moves P&H HC

Shivangi Prakash

Published on: September 15, 2021 at 11:10 IST

The chairman of the Punjab State Safai Karamchari Commission, Gejja Ram Valmiki, has filed a petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court alleging that Local and State Authorities failed to act against Municipal Corporation (MC) officials involved in forcing sanitation workers to manually clear a sewer in the Jugiana area without safety kits on July 16.

The Petition names the state of Punjab as a party to the case, along with 11 others.

This caused concern among Municipal Corporation employees, prompting members of the Municipal Employees Sangharsh Committee to meet with mayor Balkar Sandhu on Tuesday at the MC Zone-D headquarters.

Employees urged that the mayor take up the problem with the state government and settle it, or the union would be obliged to stage a strike.

The Municipal Corporation personnel are not at fault, according to Jasdev Sekhon, the Union’s President, because the sewermen were not pushed to enter the manhole by them, and the Commission’s chairman’s actions are damaging their health and morale.

 “We have urged the mayor to take up the matter at the state level and resolve it. No action should be taken against the Municipal Corporation employees otherwise, the union will raise an agitation,” said Sekhon.

Meanwhile, chairman Gejja Ram stated that action will be taken against all employees concerned and stated “The petition has been filed in the Court as officials have failed to take action. The sewermen were forced to enter the manholes to clean the sewer lines without safety kits.” 

On July 16, Geja Ram filed a complaint with local and state authorities, asking for a FIR against the MC executive engineer, junior engineer, and sub-divisional official for allegedly forcing sewermen to enter manholes without safety equipment in the Jugiana region.

On August 30, one and a half months following the complaint, the Sahnewal police had arrested unnamed individuals for violating Sections 7 and 9 of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act 2013.

The chairman, on the other hand, insisted that Municipal Corporation staff be named in the FIR.

Also Read: Delhi HC issues notice on strict compliance of Manual Scavenging Law

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