Shillong Feb 4: National Commission for Safai Karamcharis (NCSK) on Monday expressed surprise over the refusal of safai karamcharis (sweepers) to shift to other places where the state government has built houses for them.
This was expressed by the commission’s chairman, Manhar Valjibhai Zala who visited Meghalaya and held a state level review meeting with officials of the state government including deputy commissioners and officers of municipal boards and discussed with them the implementation of schemes for the welfare of safai karamcharis.
The meeting also discussed the implementation of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Rehabilitation Act, 2013 besides other issues relating to welfare of safai karamcharis and manual scavengers who are also exposed to certain health problems.
Speaking to reporters after the review meeting, Valjibhai Zala said that various suggestions emerged during the meeting and various measures taken by the state government for the welfare of the safai karamcharis and safaiwalas (sanitation workers).
Zala said that during his visit, he found Meghalaya to be “very clean” in terms of cleanliness.
Zala said that the Commission has also recommended to the state government to address the problems face by sanitation workers and take welfare measures including accommodation facilities.
Informing that the state government has already taken measures for the welfare of workers including housing facilities, Zala said, “we are surprised that the safai karamcharis did not want to shift to the place where the state government has built quarters for 84 workers.”
The state government has built quarters which are at present being used as temporary office of the Shillong Municipal Board.
Zala appealed to the safai karamcharis to shift from the old place and occupy the quarters built by the state government so that they have better facilities and the need to provide affordable housing under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) scheme.
The chairman also suggested changing the name ‘safai karamcharis (sweepers)’ to some other encouraging names, and thosesafai karamcharis who performed their duty excellently should be awarded every year by the government.
There are over 700 workers across the state and some of them in Shillong city are staying at Them Ïew Mawlong, one of the commercial areas.
The residents opposed the move to shift them on the ground that they have been living there for many decades.