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Filed under: General
Posted by: site admin @ 8:38 pm

 

 

Pro-BJP businessmen cause for inflation

 Pro-BJP businessmen in rise in the price of essential commodities.

 

Business people were responsible for creating artificial shortage which increased the price of commodities.

That was due to pro-BJP businessmen

SP denies Smritis charge

Belgaum Superintendent of Police Hemant Nimbalkar has denied that TV star and BJP leader Smriti Irani was manhandled by police on Tuesday.

Reacting to media reports, he said on Wednesday that the charge was false and baseless.

Reports said that the BJP leader was insulted and touched by some policemen while she was on her way to Goa in a vehicle from Belgaum after attending the party programme on Tuesday. “In the pretext of searching me, some policemen stopped my car near Belgaum and touched me,'’ the actor had claimed.

  The SP said the police had not received any complaint by either Ms Smriti or her BJP workers. She has levelled unfair allegations against the police, he said. On Tuesday evening, a vehicle was intercepted near Angol for search by police. Many BJP workers were present on the occasion. “I don’t know whether Ms Smriti was also in it. Apart from this search, nowhere the BJP leaders’ vehicles were stopped during that evening,'’ he stated.

BSP may keep off UPA report card function

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will release on Thursday a yearly “Report to the People” on the government’s achievements.

There are reports that Bahujan Samaj Party MPs will not attend the function to be held to mark four years of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance rule.

The BSP’s move coincides with the announcement by MPs of its rival, Samajwadi Party, that they would attend the event, indicating the change in equations in the run-up to next year’s Lok Sabha elections.

Congress spokesman said, while confirming the reports that the BSP was likely to stay away.

This was expected after the recent war of words between the Congress and the BSP in Uttar Pradesh, say observers.

Deprived of a right and De-Franchised

— Photo: K. Murali Kumar

left out: Voters whose names were missing from the voters’ list, which prevented them from exercising their franchise, showing their identity cards during the repoll

at one of the booths in Bangalore on Monday.

 

The Election Commission is responsible for De-franchising large number people who were deprived of their right to vote as their names were missing from voter’s list.

Many of them those who had their photo identity cards also did not find their names in the voter’s list.

There was haste in conducting elections by the Election Commission without ensuring that all the eligible people in Karnataka were included in the voters list.

However Election Commission has to postpone the date for formation of the New Government and not on 28 th May 2008 as required by the Constitution.

With thousands of people not finding their names in the voters list, People must have the Right To Information on the exact percentage of names missing in the voter’s list.

Those who tried to include their names before 29-04-2008 had their acnowledgements. Yet their names were not found in the voters list.

Thousands of people stood in scroching sun to get photo identity cards before the elections. But they could not get because of lack of proper infrastructure such as enough numbers of computers and staff who could either include peoples name in the voters list or provide them photo identity cards.

People must also have the Right To Information on the type of chip used in the Electronic Voting Machine with the source code for transparency.

In Reserved Constituencies, the Major Opposition Parties have encouraged False Caste Certificate holders as candidates.

When objected during scrutiny they were not rejected but accepted since the Tahsildars had issued them certificates and EC said that they were helpless and only the Courts can help them.

The Election Commission must have a mechanism to ensure that genuine SC/STs only contested elections in Reserved Constituencies.

 Since the Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswamy on Thursday fixed the responsibility for preparation of error-free voters list, ahead of the election to Karnataka Assembly, on political parties, it is high time that the present Election Commission be scraped and an Election Committee representing all the Political Parties like various Parliamentary Committees be formed forthwith. And work out to see tha all the eligible people of India are included in the voter’s list. This must be made mandatory.

And no elections has to be conducted until all the peoples’ names are included in the voter’s list.

Till then the present election has to be scraped


for a Real Free and fair Election.

Election Commission India

Elections India : Article 324 of the constitution establishes an independent Election Commission to supervise parliamentary and state elections in India. Supervising elections in the world’s largest democracy is by any standard an immense undertaking. Some 521 million people were eligible to vote in 1991.

Now the people of India must have the Right To Information from the Election Commission know as to how many million people were elegible to vote in 2009 and 2008 Karnataka Assembly elections. There is no official information on the exact number of people whose names are not found in the voter’s list.

We the people - these are the most important words in our constitution. Everything depends on us- the voters,who have an opportunity and the right to choose our representatives, demand accountability and determine the direction of growth and governance of the country. Several problems have surfaced in the gigantic task of conducting elections in India and to ensure that elections are free and fair. With each passing election, the educated citizens of our country seem to have grown ignorant and apathetic about the electoral process and elections. The result has been a steady deterioration in the standards and practices of political parties reflected in rampant corruption and the reckless use of money and muscle power to win elections.

 

Active participation of citizens is an absolute prerequisite to make the electoral system more representative, fair, transparent and free from all the other ills. Eleanor Roosevelt once said: “nobody can hurt you without your consent” which in this context can be rephrased as “nobody can marginalise you without your cooperation

 

Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswamy on Thursday fixed the responsibility for preparation of error-free voters list, ahead of the election to Karnataka Assembly, on political parties. Speaking to reporters here, Mr Gopalaswamy said the political parties would be given two separate lists on February seven for deletion and additions to be made in the final list.   

 

‘’They will be given two weeks time for raising objections to removing and adding names of the voters for the final list to be prepared on March ten,'’ he said.  

 

‘’It will be the responsibility of the political parties to ensure the final list did not contain discrepancies any more as the EC has adopted a new mechanism for producing error-free list,'’ he said.

To a question on whether the elections would be postponed in case of a delay in the implementation of the report of Mr Justice Kuldeep Singh who headed Delimitation Commission, he said the EC did not work on the basis of ‘ifs and buts’ and as of now, it would conduct the elections before May 28.

 

‘’The Commission is concerned about the voter’s list as there are only additions and no deletions in the list.

‘’This is the reason I sent Deputy Election Commissioner R Bhattacharya, who is in charge for Karnataka, to oversee the whole exercise,'’ Mr Gopalaswamy said.

 

The EC would hold elections before May 28, as the state completes six months under President’s Rule on the date, he said.

 

In the draft list submitted by the State Election Commission (SEC) names of 3.48 lakh voters had been deleted while 9.27 lakh new voters had been added as of yesterday.

 

Mr Gopalaswamy and his Deputies Navin Chawla and S Y Qureshi have been here for the last two days reviewing the voters list and preparedness of the official machinery to hold elections, following the detection of large number of bogus voters in the voter’s list.

 

Earlier, Congress and the BJP submitted memorandum to the CEC urging him to provide error-free voters list and elections be held in the stipulated time.

 

He replied in the affirmative when asked whether he would take action against the officials for their ‘lapses’ in preparation of the voter’s list.

  Voters list mess in poll-bound Karnataka

Bangalore, Jan 5 - A family with 90 voters and a town with 30,000 voters in a population of 36,500! These are just some of the glitches in the voters list in poll-bound Karnataka. R. Bhattacharya, deputy election commissioner at the Election Commission of India has been in Bangalore for the last three days having talks with state election officials on steps to ensure proper voters list ahead of polls to the 224-member assembly expected in April/May.

The irregularities in the voters list pointed out by people and political parties has forced the state election commission to cancel its plans to release the final list on Jan 10.

Bhattacharya met state chief electoral officer R. Ramaseshan, Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagar Palike (Greater Bangalore City Corporation) commissioner S. Subramanya and senior officials from several districts and told them of the Election Commission’s displeasure over the way the voters lists had been prepared.

The state officials now plan to revise the lists and publish them by the end of this month. They have sought the help of voters to point out anomalies.

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president Mallikharjun Kharge Friday mentioned the instance of one family in north Karnataka having 90 voters on the list and of Humnabad town in Bidar district that has 30,000 voters in a population of 36,500.

More than 7,000 in the town are school-going children, yet there are 30,000 names in the voters list.

Another Congress leader H.K. Patil said there could be around four million bogus names in the voters list. Karnataka’s population is estimated at 55 million and voting population at around 42 million.

The two other main political parties, the Bharatiya Janata Party and Janata Dal-Secular also allege there are many irregularities in the list. The three parties have urged the state and central election officials to rectify the anomalies

 

MCC to revise voters’ list in three Assembly segments

Special Correspondent

Door-to-door campaign to be launched along with booth committee members




Training programme to be held for booth committee members

Exercise to be launched at one booth each in

the three Assembly segments




— PHOTO: M.A. SRIRAM

Major decision: Mayor Ayub Khan announcing the involvement of booth committees in the revision of the voters’ list. Deputy Mayor Kamala Venkatesh is seen.

MYSORE: The Mysore City Corporation (MCC) will revise the voters’ list in the three Assembly constituencies within its jurisdiction by launching a door-to-door campaign along with members of the booth committees.

There are 607 booth committees in the city covering all the 65 wards. The initiative is expected to be more precise; it will involve people at the grassroots level unlike in the the top-down approach followed so far.

Apart from updating the voters’ list, the exercise will help rectify the anomalises and help add to the list the names of those who were left out while deleting the names of bogus voters. The initiative will complement the steps taken by the district administration before the elections.

Disclosing this, Mayor Ayub Khan said here on Saturday that during his visits to polling booths in his capacity as the first citizen of Mysore, he had received several complaints from registered voters.

“Either their names were missing or the details were faulty. Hence I have decided to accord priority to ensure that the citizens are not deprived of the right to exercise their franchise,” he said.

“I consider it my duty to ensure that the names of all eligible voters are incorporated in the revised voters’ list and hence have decided to take the step with the assistance of booth committee members”, Mr. Khan said.

It has been decided to undertake a survey according to which, the head of each booth committee, along with officials of the MCC and other members, will cover the area coming under their respective booths and ensure that the discrepancies are removed.

“The entire responsibility of revising and updating the voters’ list will be vested with the new team”, according to the Mayor. It has also been decided to conduct a one-day workshop-cum-training programme for all booth committee members so that they can familiarise themselves with the process of revising the list. “Details will be collected from every household on individuals who have been transferred, women who have left the locality after marriage and those who have expired so as to ensure that their names are deleted from the list”, Mr. Khan said.

Once the workshop-cum-training programme is completed, the voters’ list revision exercise will be taken up as a pilot project at one booth each in the three Assembly constituencies coming under the MCC limits.

The team involved in this exercise will record its findings and experience, collate the pros and cons of such an approach and table a report which will be subjected to scrutiny.

“We will thoroughly analyse the report and streamline the exercise before extending it to cover all the booths coming under the 65 wards of the MCC”, Mr. Khan said.

Cooperation sought

He called for public cooperation, and sought the assistance of non-governmental organisations so as to ensure that in the subsequent elections genuine voters will not be deprived of their right to exercise their franchise.

There are 607 booths in the three Assembly segments in Mysore Urban which has a population of nearly 7.55 lakh according to the 2001 census.

The Election Commission recently called for revision of the voters’ list in Mysore on learning that the number of voters in the city was more than 65 per cent of the total population.

Though the revision exercise was conducted over an extended period of time, there were some discrepancies which the Mayor wants to rectify by launching an exercise involving the booth committees.

 

Reforms could ensure more voter turnout

Research could throw up answers for poor poll percentage

Poll percentage could improve if the Government makes a ‘determined attempt’ to bring in reforms

‘Involvement of Resident Welfare Associations, NGOs and other concerned citizens would help’




MYSORE: The voter turnout in the second phase of the elections held in ten districts has been put at 60 per cent, which is a drop of six per cent from the first phase of polls. What could be the reason for voter apathy? Can reforms set right the apathy and ensure people turn out in large numbers to exercise their franchise?

Social activist Vasanthkumar Mysoormath, who conducted voter awareness movements in 1999, 2004 and 2008 elections (first phase), has echoed Deputy Commissioner and District Election Officer P. Manivannan’s reported view that research has to be conducted on poor poll percentage.

“It is high time that such an exercise is undertaken by the Government of India. A number of election reforms are long-pending before the Centre.

The Election Commission itself has forwarded some suggestions that are pending since many years now,” said Mr. Mysoormath, who was the presiding officer in more than 10 elections.

Mr. Mysoormath, who retired from the Indian Audit and Accounts Department, maintained that the poll percentage can be substantially improved if the Government makes a “determined attempt” to bring in reforms as recommended by the Election Commission and experts over the years.

He, too, had made certain suggestions for improving the poll percentage.

Missing names

Many eligible voters have been denied their right to vote because their names were missing, although they held Elector’s Photo Identity Cards (EPIC).

“Why should they keep running around in circles to obtain updated EPICs every time there is an election, only to be turned down because the revised rolls do not contain their names,” he asked.

The money and energy spent for enumeration and preparation of electoral rolls with the help of teachers and government officials has time and again failed to produce the required results.

This needs to be answered because public money is being splurged to prepare incorrect rolls and to deny the citizens their right to vote, he said.

Involvement

It is also time for the citizens to behave in a responsible manner and involve themselves at the grassroots level to help the EC set right the perennial problem, he said.

The three-tier system applicable to rural areas viz., zilla, taluk and gram panchayats, is absent in urban areas. To fill this gap, involvement of Resident Welfare Associations/ NGOs and other concerned citizens would help.

Better network

“Street committees with volunteers from the residents in a street are the need of the hour.

They, in turn, can coordinate with ward committees for enumeration and compilation of near-perfect electoral rolls and also for assessing the works and projects that need attention and for projecting their demands and grievances with the concerned service providers,” Mr. Mysoormath suggested.

Sensitising youth

The youth of the country has exhibited rank apathy due to their feeling that “politics is a dirty business”.

Many have expressed disgust over the behaviour of politicians in Parliament/Assemblies.

‘Not bothered’

“The youth have not bothered even to register themselves as voters because of the cumbersome procedure and running around to get an EPIC which nevertheless becomes useless by the next election. This attitude needs to be changed,” he said.

Political will

What the country needs is political will to bring necessary legislation through amendment to those rule books that govern elections.

“Countries like Turkey and Australia have compulsory voting and the turnout is about 90-plus per cent. What made those countries prescribe such a rule and how it is implemented may be studied and adopted in our country also,” he said.

Incentives

Can incentives attract voters?

Some incentive is bound to attract at least a percentage of people to stop being apathetic and cynical and proceed to vote.

“A system may be prescribed: those who vote may be given a certificate by the EC for claiming say one or two per cent reduction in their electricity bills or water bills or property tax for a certain period after an election. If the percentage of voting can be increased by spending a few crores, then it will be well worth trying,” said Mr. Mysoormath.

EC has failed to check flow of money

Election Commission has failed to check distribution of money and other articles among voters.  Mine lords, members of land mafia and anti-social elements were controlling the elections, which a dangerous development in democracy.

 Major political parties had no moral right to go before the electorate as they had forgotten the basic principles of politics.

four polling booths in Bellary alleged rigging during the second phase of Karnataka assembly elections.

Tribal organisations, demand, disqualification, of candidates

Adivasi Swayattategagi Rastriya Rangha (ASRR)

and Nagarahole Tribal Rights Samithi have urged the Election

Commission to disqualify three candidates contesting from H D Kote

(Reserve) Assembly Constituency for allegedly producing false caste

certificates.

According to a press note issued by Samithi Convenor P K Ramu,

the candidates Mr Chikkanna (Congress), Mr Chikkaveera Nayaka (BJP)

and (Mr Doddanayaka (JD-S) had contested the Assembly elections from

this reserved constituency for tribals and urged the Commission to

disqualify and file criminal cases against them.

Earlier, based on a complaint filed by the public, Deputy

Commissioner and District Election Officer P Manivannan had

suspended H D Kote Tahasildar T Vijya and ordered a departmental

inquiry against her for issuing S T certificate to BJP candidate

Chikkaveera Naika.

They alleged that all three candidates had tampered with the

school documents and produced the false caste certificates during

the time of the election process and contested from H D Kote.

The Assistant Commissioner of Hunsur Sub Division M R Ravi had

submitted a report to the district election officer alleging

tampering with the records by the three candidates to claim the

Scheduled Tribe status to contest the election.

In his report, Mr Ravi stated the Tahsildar of H D Kote had

issued controversial caste certificates without verifying the

original documents and failed to follow the procedures before

issuing them.

Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner and District Election Officer

P Manivannan said the report had been sent to the Election

Commission for further action.

In Reserved Constituencies, the Major Opposition Parties have encouraged False Caste Certificate holders as candidates.May be to keep them under their control for not asking for any provisions of reservation.

 

 In CV Raman Nagar Constitutncy similar action was not taken when objection was raised  during scrutiny, they were not rejected but accepted since the Tahsildars had issued them certificates and EC said that they were helpless and only the Courts can help them.

 

Some political parties were involved in the bomb blast at Hubli court to gain political mileage during the election.

 


Polling in sensitive booths of Bellary City and Rural was slow, but peaceful on the whole except for an incident in Srirampur Colony (SC (Original Inhabitants of Jambudvipa that is the Great Prabuddha Bharath) Colony), where a voter, Shivaji an asthma patient was not permitted to vote as he had produced only the xerox copy of his ID card which was not accepted by the polling officer.


An altercation ensued and the Border Security Force (BSF), who could not understand Kannada manhandled the voter and pushed him out. A group of people gathered and the situation was tense for a while. However, special observer Raymond Peter arrived on the spot. The voter and the local people mobbed his car and represented the case. The situation was brought under control.

 

Such a huge number of contestants has made the officials organize for two electronic voting machines in each polling booth. Each EVM can display a maximum of 16 names. Both machines will be connected to a single controlling unit, according to B P Adnoor, Commissioner, Bellary City Corporation.


Will voters be confused as they will have to look for their choice of candidates in two EVMs?


“No. Each candidate has been allotted with a number and a symbol. Voters will have to know that number. But in case of national parties, voters go by the symbol. In 2004, two EVMs were used in each booth as elections to the Assembly and Lok Sabha were held simultaneously. A voter will have to spend a second or two just to read the symbols as there would be two EVMs,” he said.


A tour around Bellary city showed that none of the independents are campaigning. Even major political party leaders admit that no independent is serious about the elections. Then why do they pay Rs 5,000 as deposit and enter the fray? A senior Congress leader said, “Majority of the independent candidates are dummy. They contest and approach us (major parties) for money to withdraw their nominations. This time none withdrew their papers. Each candidate is allowed to use only four vehicles for campaigning. This EC restriction has come as a major hurdle for us to campaign. So, we have kept the vehicles of independent candidates at our disposal. Of course, we have their money. This is done in by all major parties. Many of the independents are fielded by national parties”.


Another challenge being faced by the officials is to weed out the bogus student ID cards. The EC has listed 20 types of identity cards which can be used for casting vote. A voter has to produce any one of these to exercise his franchise. Students are allowed to produce their college ID card.


In the first phase of polling, students were found producing fake ID cards. So, the EC has sent mails to all the DCs to check the veracity of students’ ID card. “We have held a meeting with the principals of all colleges in Bellary and have directed them to ensure that their colleges are not found issuing bogus cards. If fake cards are found, then principals of such colleges will face criminal action,” said Aravind Srivastv,  Deputy Commissioner, Bellary.  


  Security


 Giving protection to polling booths in Bellary city is also a major challenge to officials. Each booth will be monitored by para military personnel because each one of the total 211 polling booths in the city is branded as hypersensitive, said Srivastav.


As many as 7,244 government staff has been drawn for election duty on March 16. Of this, 1,811 are presiding officers.


In fact, no staff is allowed to work in their home town or village. They have been allotted postings on a random basis. Till May 15 morning, they would not know where they will be posted. All these measures are taken to see that fare and free elections are held in the district, added Mr Srivastav.

 

Rs 10 crore worth liquor, gifts seized

 

As many as 1,418 criminal cases have been booked under provisions of IPC and Peoples Representation Act, while 1,705 cases have been registered under the Excise Act and Rs 3.5 crore worth IMF liquor and spirit has been seized since April 1….

 

Around 120 cases of inducement to voters by giving various gifts have been booked while property worth Rs 7 crore worth property have been seized, Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Shankar Bidari said here on Wednesday.
Speaking to reporters he said 16,616 persons have been arrested since April 1 and bonds have been obtained from them for good behaviour.


He said as many as 56,000 police personnel will be deployed in the second phase of elections to be held for 66 constituencies on May 16. This includes 21,000 civil police, 10,000 Home Guards, 22,000 para military forces and 3,000 KSRP personnel.


a total of 214 Central Para Military Force (CPMF) companies have been allotted to 66 Assembly constituencies in 10 districts, that include 21 for Raichur, Koppal (15) Uttara Kannada (18), Bellary (31), Chitradurga (18),  Davanagere (24), Shimoga (22), Udupi (18), Chikmagalur (20) and Dakshina Kannada (27).


One mobile squad will be provided for every 20 polling stations. Each mobile squad comprises one police sub-inspector, one head constable, three constables and one Home Guard.


In all, there will be 650 mobile squads for all constituencies, Bidari said.


The CPMF pickets with one head constable, four constables/two head constables and 10 PCs will be posted in sensitive areas. Each constituency will have a striking force consisting one platoon of KSRP, he informed.


Polling booths


Bidari said out of the 12,271 polling stations in phase two, 3,754 have been classified as hypersensitive and 4,282 have been considered as sensitive. For every hypersensitive and sensitive booth, two uniformed police personnel and for every normal booth, one police personnel will be deployed.

families, in implementing housing programme and maintaining law and order.

BJP failure

BJP like the Congress and JDS also had to bear the burden of anti-incumbency as it had failed to issue ration cards to BPL

Peter takes charge

Senior IAS officer Raymond Peter, who was appointed as a special observer to oversee polling process in Bellary district, where mine owners have locked horns in the second phase, took charge on Wednesday.

 

He held a meeting with returning officers, top police officials and commandant of central security to review the poll preparations and arrangements.


In the December 2006 byelection to the Chamundeshwari Assembly constituency, Peter was the election observer and was known for dealing any violation of poll code of conduct with an iron hand.


The appointment of Peter in Bellary takes significance following allegations that voters are being lured with cash by mine owners. All the 211 polling stations in Bellary City has been declared as hypersensitive

In several areas, voters protested deletion of their names

Technical snags delaying and disrupting poll process for brief spells has been reported from several places.

Repolling in two polling stations

 

Electoral authorities on Sunday ordered repolling in two polling stations where elections were held during the first phase of Karnataka assembly polls

 

Repolling has been ordered at a polling station in Malleshwaram and another in Ramanagara following malfunctioning of EVMs there, Chief Electoral officer M N Vidyashankar told reporters.

 

Dear Sir,
 
Heartfelt greeting  on Buddha jayanti.I’m very thankful to you all for showing your concern for the liberation of Mahabodhi Temple, Buddhagaya. I will be going to Bihar in second week of June,2008 for initiating legal action. I have made  legal research on the issue of Buddhgaya. Apparantly the Bodhgaya Act of 1949 which provides for provision for constitution of Temple Management Committee with Invaders and thier slaves majority  is unconstitutional on ground several provisions and principles (14, 25,26, secularism etc)of Indian Constitution and International Bill of Human Rights.
 
Its shocking to learn that how state government had courage to enact such illegal and unconstitutional Act. I feel that becouse of  Invaders and thier slaves majority in legislatve body has committed mischief on the pretext of better management of affairs of temple.
 
It is a grave fraud on the Constitution of India and state and society have committed crime of collective conspiracy.
 
I belong to Buddhagaya itself but since born in untouchable

(Original Inhabitant of Jambudvipa that is the Great Prabuddha Bharath) family, was unaware of my real identity. When I started reading the works of Babasheb Ambedkar and Buddha, I realized that we are defacto Buddhist and then committed to Buddhism and humanity. I’ll fight till last blood of body to liberate Buddhagaya and Buddhism from the domination of  Invaders and thier slaves.
 
I’m looking forward for your active participation and cooperation.
 
You may publish this letter in your esteem news magzine.

 
With Metta,
Sanjay

 

Manual scavenging still rampant in North East Delhi, says report

Parul Sharma

Finance and Development Corporation had sponsored the study to identify scavengers in the city




As per the report scavenging is a women dominated profession

‘The scavengers have high aspirations for their children and want them to study’




NEW DELHI: While 15 years have lapsed since the demeaning and humiliating practice of manual scavenging was banned through the enactment of the Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993, manual scavenging is still rampant in North East Delhi, where a majority of Delhi’s 1,282 scavengers work, a study by a Delhi University lecturer has revealed.

According to the study conducted by Pamela Singla, a lecturer at the Department of Social Work at Delhi University, the main pockets of residence and workplace of people engaged in removal of night soil are in areas like Karawal Nagar, Old Seelampur, Shahdara, Gandhi Nagar, Nand Nagri and Babarpur. “Scavenging is done mainly by two ways, either by cleaning of drains or emptying the containers containing night soil,” said Dr. Singla, sharing the findings of the study that she conducted for the Delhi SC/ST/OBC/Minorities/Handicapped Finance and Development Corporation.

The Corporation had sponsored the study to identify scavengers in the city. Acting on the report, the Delhi State Cabinet had recently decided to initiate steps for the rehabilitation of manual scavengers.

As per the report, “Scavengers and Scavenging in Delhi”, submitted to the Corporation in July last year, scavenging is a women dominated profession.

“About 80 per cent of scavengers are women and majority of them are married. Over 71 per cent are below 40 years of age. Out of 1,282 scavengers, 1,085 reside and work in Delhi, while the remaining work in the Capital but live in Loni. Besides scavenging, they also collect garbage and clean septic tanks. They are engaged in scavenging purely owing to financial reasons as they have to fend for their families,” shared Dr. Singla.

A majority of them are not satisfied with their jobs since the work is “extremely filthy”. About 12 per cent of scavengers said they could not quit the profession as there was no alternative means of employment available to them because of their illiteracy.

“They are not sure what they want to do. During informal interactions with some of the women, I could gauge that they were not ready to undergo training for any other job. They showed willingness to do government jobs. Some women even said they would not mind scavenging if it would be counted under government jobs and would give them a regular, fixed income at the end of the month coupled with weekly holidays,” she said.

According to the report, the scavengers had high aspirations for their children and wanted them to study and get into some “dignified profession”.

Interestingly, Dr. Singla had conducted the same study way back in 1992 and was glad to note that the number of human scavengers in the Capital had come down from 8,000 back then to 1,282 this time round.

“Things have improved in some ways. In 1992, there were many scavengers who carried it (night soil) head load. In 2007, such persons were almost negligible with most carrying it in a cart,” she noted.

Dr. Singla said the profession can be completely abolished only when the authorities convert “dry” latrines to “wet” latrines with simultaneous programmes for their rehabilitation.

“As long as there is a demand for their services, scavengers will continue to exist,” she concluded, adding that the Corporation is sharing the report with some ministries.

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