April 21, 2012 5:22:30 am
As the Union government plans stringent provision of two-year jail term for civic officials for getting sewers and septic tanks cleaned manually,the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has already initiated safety measures for the job and has achieved 60 per cent of mechanisation for the work.
The move in this direction started after The Indian Express in an exclusive series had reported on high mortality rate of conservancy staff in 2007. Going by the plans of the Union government,it would be mandatory for municipal bodies or the employer to provide upgraded protective gear to the conservancy staff,or the officer in-charge would have to face action of two-year jail term or cough up Rs 2 lakh fine.
In October 2007,The Indian Express had reported on the high mortality rate of conservancy staff of the PMC,compelling the administration to take action. The PMC had appointed committees,comprising five elected representatives and three civic officers,to study the issues related to conservancy staff and give relevant suggestions to improve their quality of life. This was followed by a two-day visit by Dr Arvind Prasad,Joint Secretary,Union Social Justice Department,during which he expressed concern over the situation of conservancy staff across the country.
The committee had recommended that safety gears should be provided to the conservancy staff while creating awareness of their use. It also said PMC should constantly provide training to its staff for adopting new practices and use of advance technology in their work.
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The Union government has proposed stringent provisions to ban hazardous manual cleaning of sewers and septic tanks. However,the PMC has been able to make headway in improving the working condition of its conservancy staff in last few years. The mechanisation has enabled over 60 per cent of work to be done through latest technological equipment and would now go for 100 per cent cleanliness through use of machines, said Joint Municipal Commissioner Suresh Jagtap.
The work of declogging choked drainage line is done through machines,he said,adding that the civic administration has proposed involvement of a private agency with latest equipment and expertise to do the job for PMC.
The PMC has also started using mechanised sweeping machine to clean the streets,Jagtap said adding,The civic administration has been able to achieve most of the recommendations made by the committee and with additional budgetary provision would get in more machines.
The PMC has supplied safety gears – gloves,gum boots and masks – to all the conservancy staff and has provided them health card for compulsory medical check up every year,he added.
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