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Laws can’t end manual scavenging

Millennium Development Goals on sanitation can only be met only if manual scavenging is completely done away with. The laws related to manual scavenging had not borne fruit. What the editorial “Can’t just flush it away” (September 13) says is apt and it is a matter of shame that after 65 years of Independence the curse of manual scavenging still persists in our country.

In fact, the implementation of the Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrine (Prohibition) Act, 1993 had been weak as not even a single case has been registered under a 19 year old law that prohibits hiring of manual scavengers and building dry latrines.

The unsanitary latrine has to be replaced by a sanitary one to achieve the sanitation goals and we have to go beyond laws for the scavengers’ rights to resettlement and dignity. The knowledge and planning are of no use if there is no implementation. There is no long-term plans of the Govt. of India, it may be sewerage, roads, water or power supply. In this tech era, new methods should be adopted instead of inhuman practices.

In two towns in Rajasthan — Alwar and Tonk — Sulabh has spearheaded a campaign in which manual scavengers have moved to becoming small-time vendors and now are even invited to Brahmin households for tea and weddings. They now make pickles, “papads” and in some cases even do facials in Brahmin houses. These are the models the government should follow instead of making arbitrary laws.

It is an admitted fact that unless there is awareness and change in our attitudes, manual scavenging cannot be eradicated by making laws.


Adding miseries

Loneliness and failure of relationship are not the only reason for committing suicide (this is with reference to the editorial “Rising suicide cases” published on September 15). The financial problems of a person cannot be ruled out as being the cause for a person ending one’s life. Now it is feared that suicidal cases will be on the increase due to the unprecedented inflation and steep hike in the prices of every commodity necessary to live.

The tough decision taken by the government on the pretext of reforms has not only added fuel to the fire but also pushed the poor, even the middle class people and especially the personnel retired without pension benefits, towards the threshold of hunger, starvation and committing suicides. The government should do one favour more to these classes of society by making suicide a legal act because in future the poor will prefer to choose this way rather than dying of starvation.


Deep slumber

It seems from the condition of ex-servicemen that they are neglected by the state as well as the Union government. A soldier renders service to his country by giving his most important time to save the country from external invasion and even at the time of internal unrest, sacrificing all his joys for his country but unfortunately after retirement he has to run from pillar to post to earn his living because his family cannot go with a much less pension.

In newspapers one can usually read that the government mulls this idea or frame that policy for state or central government employees of any other department but when it comes to ex-servicemen, all policy-making and discussions are avoided by our leaders and senior officers. The “One Rank, One Pension” scheme is still pending but how much this poor soldier has to bear. It is a matter of shame for the government that it has failed to take care of the problems of defence services’ personnel. Now the moment has come when the government should wake up from the deep slumber and proper provision should be made for helping ex-servicemen.


Good move

Even lawyers can opt to do their other respective works and litigants will not have to be physically present in the High Court complex for computing as to when their case will be taken up for hearing. This is with reference to news “Website to display status of cases” (September 14). As lawyers can use online legal services as a vehicle to showcase their experience and help clients to see the depth and breadth of the work they do — for example major legal cases and judgments can be projected as stated; rather it will be of immense value when the copies of bail order, etc, will be managed to send to the concerned Chief Judicial Magistrates/SSPs/ Jail Authorities within the respective States through email.

Presently, when any such bail order is send by the High Court to any of the District Courts it is duty-bound to call and confirm about the said order. So, the website to display the status of cases will be a success.


Woes of defence personnel

The article by Air Marshal RS Bedi (retd) highlighted the grievances of the armed forces personnel in a very candid manner. It serves as an eye-opener to the mandarins, who have left no stone unturned to humiliate those brave men who are the last hope of a nation. What to talk of providing additional facilities, and addressing the genuine grievances of both serving and retired armed forces personnel, they are subjected to avoidable litigation to get their grievances redressed. Judgments of armed forces tribunals are not being implemented/honured by bureaucrats, sitting in the Defence Ministry and headquarters of the armed forces.

This writer has been struggling for the past 30 years for his legitimate reservist pension, which has been denied to him due to an erroneous entry in his discharge certificate. If our politicians and bureaucrats fail to read the writing on the wall, the consequences may be most disastrous for the nation.




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