GUWAHATI: Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Thursday directed the WPT&BC Department to carry out a statewide survey to identify the manual scavengers in the state in a time bound manner. He also asked the department to prepare a comprehensive roadmap for augmenting skills of the manual scavengers to open new job opportunities for them.
Sonowal while chairing a meeting of the state level monitoring committee for implementation of Manual Scavengers Act 2013 at Janata Bhawan here stressed on the need to adopt focus approach to abolish manual scavenging in the State. He advocated the need for introducing modern and practical ways to sewerage management and directed the department to partner with Urban Development Department in identifying the manual scavengers through a statewide survey. He also instructed to register the manual scavengers to bring them into the ambit of government welfare schemes and work for their empowerment. The WPT&BC Department has already conducted survey in Golaghar, Lakhimpur and Jorhat district and identified 542 manual scavengers.
Underlying the need for giving a more dignified calling to the people presently engaged in manual scavenging, he asked the department to introduce mechanized way of sewerage cleaning. Sonowal directed to procure more cesspool emptier machines to be utilized for sewerage collection in municipal and town areas throughout the state. He asked the department to formulate a subsidy policy for procurement of cesspool cleaning machines giving opportunity for private parties to venture into this field.
Moreover, with a view to introduce a more focused approach in dealing with the issues related to manual scavengers, Sonowal further asked the department to take necessary steps for constitution of a State level Commission for Safai Karmacharis in line with the National Safai Karmachari Commission. Chief Minister Sonowal also emphasized on regular sensitization drives on the importance of maintaining cleanliness and asked the urban local bodies to carry out awareness drives in towns and cities.