From 2018-2023, over 400 die cleaning India’s sewers: Centre

Out of the 766 districts in the country, 714 districts have reported themselves as manual scavenging-free.

New Delhi: More than 400 people died while cleaning septic tanks and sewers in the country between 2018 and 2023, Parliament was informed on Tuesday.

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Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale shared the information in a written reply to a question asked by Trinamool Congress (TMC) member Aparupa Poddar regarding manual scavenging in India.

According to the data provided by the minister, 76 deaths occurred while cleaning septic tanks and sewers in 2018, 133 in 2019, 35 in 2020, 66 in 2021, 84 in 2022 and 49 in 2023.

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“As per the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013, manual scavenging is a prohibited activity in the country. As on 29.11.2023, out of the 766 districts in the country, 714 districts have reported themselves as manual scavenging-free,” Athawale said.

According to the data, of the 49 cases of deaths in 2023, a maximum of 10 were reported from Rajasthan, followed by Gujarat (nine), Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu (seven each), West Bengal (three), Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana (two each) and Punjab and Jharkhand (one each).

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