Manual scavengers lose life in Bengaluru manhole

Seetha Gopalakrishnan
Monday, March 13, 2017 - 14:50

Three manual scavengers die of asphyxiation trying to decongest manhole

In an incident of blatant violation of rules and misconduct on the part of contractors, three persons lost their lives trying to decongest a manhole in Bengaluru’s CV Raman Nagar. The men had entered the manhole without face masks or any kind of protective gear and died of asphyxiation as toxic fumes engulfed the chamber. A case has been registered under section 304 of the IPC, pinning the deaths on Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike and the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board for negligence resulting in culpable homicide. Employing manual scavengers has been prohibited by the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act 2013. At least 60 scavengers have lost their lives in similar incidents since 2008 in Karnataka.

Only three out of Karnataka's 28 major cities declared ODF so far

But for the efforts of city corporations in Mysuru, Mangaluru and Udupi, the performance of urban centres in Karnataka has been rather poor at ensuring open defecation free (ODF) environments. Only three out of 28 major cities have been declared ODF in the state so far with Bengaluru continuing to struggle with the menace of open defecation. Close to 500 towns and cities have been declared open defecation free across India. While neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have ensured that 110 and 40 urban areas are ODF respectively, the state of Kerala is slowly working towards making all parts of the state open defecation free soon.

NGO Swarga Foundation to make toilets in Coimbatore railway station more disabled-friendly

Coimbatore-based NGO Swarga Foundation has joined hands with the Southern Railways to make toilets in railway platforms in the city more disabled-friendly. The foundation had assessed the situation and has proposed the renovation of toilets across three platforms at the Coimbatore Junction Railway station. Some of the existing accessible disabled-friendly toilets were found to be in bad condition with rusted support handle bars and slippery floors while a few remained locked. Renovation works are expected to commence in two months’ time after obtaining written approval from the rail authorities.
 
Collector vows to construct 10,000 toilets within 100 hours in Vizianagaram district

In a novel attempt to put an end to open defecation, the district collector of Vizianagaram has vowed to construct 10,000 toilets within 100 hours with active public involvement. No other district has embarked on such an initiative so far. Many villages across the state have already secured the open defecation free (ODF) tag and the administration is keen on ensuring that all 71 panchayats are declared ODF after the marathon construction drive. The district and block level officials had earlier directed masons to not engage in any other work from March 10 -14 to ensure the programme’s success.
 
Tirunelveli municipality achieves 100 percent source segregation of solid waste

The city of Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu has become the first in the country to achieve 100 percent segregation of garbage at source. With a population of 4.8 lakh, the city embarked on the mission just a year ago, soon after the revision of the Solid Waste Management Rules in 2016. An intensive campaign involving the mainstream and social media helped create awareness about the needs and benefits of segregating waste at the source before disposal. Two dustbins were distributed to all 1.6 lakh households in the city along with a personal note from the municipal commissioner urging residents to segregate waste. While biodegradable waste is collected every day from all households across the city, non-biodegradables are collected once a week.

This is a roundup of important sanitation related news published between March 4 and 10, 2016.
Lead image courtesy: The News Minute

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