Dr. Thawar Chand Gehlot, Union Minister, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MoSJ&E) has stated that the Government is fully committed to eradicate manual scavenging through the ‘The Prevention of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013’. He was speaking at the national Workshop Cum Exhibition on Sustainable Sanitation organised by MoSJ&E and the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (MoHUA) here today. Shri Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of State (I/C) for Housing & Urban Affairs, Shri Durga Shanker Mishra, Secretary, MohUA, Smt. Nilam Sawhney, Secretary, MoSJ&E and more than 500 representatives including the Principal Secretaries (UD), Mission Directors of AMRUT & Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban (SBM-U) in States/Union Territories, Municipal Commissioners of 500 cities with population of 1 lakh and above and development partners besides senior official from both the ministries attended the workshop.
The Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment added that the Government has been laying increasing emphasis on mechanical cleaning and preventing human entry into sewer and septic tanks to the extent possible through the use of modern technologies. Further, Shri Gehlot said, Through the National Safai Karmacharis Finance and Development Corporation (NSKFDC) formal integration of these workers is being done through the disbursement of grants, provision of loans and livelihood training programs. I am happy to see that this workshop cum exhibition today will showcase the varied measures, best practices and technologies available that will go a long way in preventing fatalities due to hazardous cleaning of sewers and septic tanks. Swachh Bharat is indeed the first step towards Swasth Bharat.”
Addressing the gathering Shri Puri said, “Our Ministry has consistently made efforts to devise efficient systems, processes and technologies for mechanical cleaning of sewer and septic tanks. The Ministry has undertaken various initiatives to eliminate human entry into septic tanks and sewers and create an ecosystem for sustainable sanitation – the publication of documents such as the CPHEEO Manual on Sewerage and Sewage Treatment Systems (2013) and Standard Operating Procedures for Cleaning of Sewers and Septic Tanks (2018) or organizing of the Global Technology Challenge, being some of them. The workshop today will be another step in this direction. The launch of the guidance document on “Emergency Response Sanitation Unit (ERSU) will go a long way in preventing fatalities of sanitation workers and guarantee their safety and well-being”. He further added, “The Manual on Stormwater Drainage Systems, 2019 released today, shall add a feather to the recently launched Jal Shakti Abhiyan by the Government and help cities and towns in water conservation, protection from flooding and water security. The Ministry is fully committed to support the endeavors of States & Urban Local Bodies as they progress towards total sanitation or Sampoorna Swachhata”.
Shri Durga Shanker Mishra, Secretary, MoHUA said, “While the Directory of Sewer & Septage Cleaning Equipment launched today will be a guiding book for Urban Local Bodies as well as practitioners, the exhibition by prominent manufacturers and vendors showcasing emerging technologies, equipment and best practices on sewer and septic tank management will help provide customized solutions to city specific requirements in this area”.
Alongside, through a series of panel discussions through the day, the workshop saw discussions and presentation of best practices on topics such as Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) based biomethanation under Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) initiative of Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoP&NG), MSW to Bio-CNG through biomethanation and cotreatment of organic fraction of MSW with sludge.
The day long interaction among stakeholders is expected to provide a comprehensive roadmap for ensuring sustainable sanitation in urban areas. States and ULBs will take these insights into their respective areas to further strengthen their strategy for achieving safe, sustainable and holistic sanitation.