Delhi,13 June :The Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, Smt. Meira Kumar has urged the Minister of Rural Development, Dr. Raghuvansh Prasad Singh to take urgent steps to ensure that all dry latrines in rural areas are converted into water seal latrines by March 2009, which is also the target date for rehabilitation of remaining manual scavengers.
She further mentioned that eradication of the practice of manual scavenging is an area of very high priority for our Government and is intended to be achieved through Enforcement of the Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993, Conversion of dry latrines into water seal latrines – with Government support under relevant schemes and Rehabilitation of manual scavengers into alternative occupations – through the Self Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers (SRMS).
She also said that the conversion of dry latrines is, however, key to eliminating the practice of manual scavenging. For the rehabilitation to be permanent, it is necessary to ensure that no dry latrines exist in the country. She said that the Self Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers (SRMS) is being implemented by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment since January, 2007. It aims at rehabilitation of remaining manual scavengers and their dependents by March, 2009. All efforts are being made to complete the rehabilitation process by the target date.
Smt Kumar said that the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, through its Integrated Low Cost Sanitation (ILCS) Scheme aims to convert the existing dry latrines into water seal latrines by March, 2010. This scheme is limited to urban areas only. However, the vast majority of our population lives in rural areas for which the Total Sanitation Campaign Scheme is being implemented by the Ministry of Rural development Ministry with the aim to provide sanitary latrines to all households in rural areas by 2012. This includes conversion of dry latrines into pour flush latrines to eliminate the scourge of manual scavenging, She added.