News:The Maharashtra government has directed all civic bodies in the state to set up Emergency Response Sanitation Units(ERSUs) to ensure safeguards for sanitation workers who clean manholes and sewers.
- The municipal commissioner of the civic body concerned will be the Responsible Sanitation Authority(RSA).The unit would be headed by a senior civic officer and other civic officers should be on the ERSU advisory board.
- The Unit will impart training to sanitation workers.Only workers trained and certified by an ERSU will be able to clean sewers but the priority will be on using machines to get such work done.
- In case a worker dies while cleaning a sewer, the civic body will have to hold an inquiry and register a police complaint.
National Commission for Scheduled Castes Directions:To ensure effective implementation of the manual scavenging law,the commission has issued various directives:
- The workers have to be fully equipped with safety apparatus and oxygen masks in case they have to clean sewers manually.
- A first information report has to be lodged against officials or contractors responsible for sending a worker to clean sewers manually, without proper gear.
- The municipal corporations to get an insurance policy of Rs 10 lakh per worker as per the Supreme Court’s directions.