Manual scavengers' deaths raise questions about the accuracy of Tamil Nadu government's data

Seetha Gopalakrishnan
Monday, January 25, 2016 - 23:21
Four manual scavengers die after inhaling poisonous gases in Chennai
Despite the 2014 Supreme Court ban on manual scavenging, the practice still continues in many pockets. In the most recent incident, four scavengers in Chennai lost their lives after inhaling poisonous gases while cleaning a hotel's sewage tank. State government data indicate that 458 persons are currently involved in manual scavenging in Tamil Nadu, out of which 252 were in Chennai. The fact that the names of the four individuals who lost their lives in the tragedy does not figure in the state scavenger list has cast some serious doubts on the accuracy of Tamil Nadu government's data. 
 
Government approves proposal to provide financial incentive for the sale of compost from municipal waste
T he Union Government has approved a proposal to incentivize the sale of compost produced from municipal solid waste in line with the requirements of the Swachh Bharat Mission. A financial incentive of Rs 1,500 per tonne of compost made from garbage will now be provided to city corporations to reduce waste pile in cities. Indian towns and cities produce a whopping 62 million tonnes of waste every year out of which only a very small portion is recycled. Production and sale of municipal compost will not only help keep the environment clean, but also serve as a means of local revenue generation. 
 
Power Ministry asks NTPC to use treated sewage water from Nagpur's Bhandewadi STP for its Mouda thermal power plant
The Union Power Ministry has asked the National Thermal Power Corporation to use recycled sewage water from Nagpur’s Bhandewadi Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) in its Mouda thermal power plant in the district. The Nagpur Municipal Corporation is currently constructing a 200 million litre per day capacity STP at Bhandewadi. If treated water from the STP is made available for the plant’s functioning, the quantum of irrigation-quality water from Gosikhurd that is currently being used can be reduced. 
 
Mild behaviour change results in slightly lesser post-Pongal garbage accumulation in Chennai
The three day Pongal festivities in Tamil Nadu often result in a great deal of garbage accumulation in beaches and other tourist spots. This year, the Corporation of Chennai identified that the quantum of garbage collected was slightly lesser than the previous years and attributed the same to heightened awareness and behaviour change. Nearly 300 conservancy workers were involved in beach cleanup activities, including segregating recyclable waste at source. 
 
Nagpur Municipal Corporation to regularise 4,500 temporary sanitary workers 
The Nagpur Municipal Corporation has decided to regularise 4,500 temporary sanitary workers who are currently on daily wages. Workers who have been with the Corporation for over ten years stand to benefit from the move. The Corporation, however, will have to shell out twice as much for their salaries and allowances from the current Rs. 35 crore per annum allocation to around Rs. 70 crore.
 
This is a roundup of sanitation related news published between January 17 and 23, 2016

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