Manual scavengers given cold carts to sell vegetables

October 3rd, 2008 - 10:30 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 3 (IANS) In an attempt to give manual scavengers a better life, the Delhi government in collaboration with an NGO and a technology major has given them carts that keep fruits and vegetables cold.The campaign, “Sampoorna Samridhi” (complete prosperity), envisages improving the financial condition of scavengers.

It also aims at increasing social acceptability of scavengers and upgrading hawker practices through innovative technology.

At a function here at Sarojini Nagar market in south Delhi to distribute the carts to thirty-one scavengers, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said: “The initiative predominantly is to make the identified manual scavengers self-reliant.”

She added: “Under the project, a person engaged in scavenging will be given mobile cold carts fitted with cold technology to maintain low temperatures. They will sell fruits and vegetable and dairy products in residential areas. MCD (Municipal Corporation of Delhi) has issued licences for the specific work.”

The function was organised by We the People - an NGO and the Delhi SC/ST/OBC/Minorities and Handicapped Finance and Development Corporation (DSFDC).

The cost of the mobile cold cart, provided by technology major ACME, was Rs.71,575.

The NGO ‘We the People’ has given Rs.58,875 for each cold cart and the DSFDC is contributing a sum of Rs.13,700 for each cart towards training, rent, and other services including hawking fees.

“However, once vending starts, the scavengers will have to pay Rs.30 a day to rent the carts. The scavengers will be given six days training for using the carts,” said Ashok Kapoor, NGO spokesperson.

“Where they were earning about a hundred a day from scavenging, they can earn about Rs.800 from vending. It’s a far better life,” Kapoor added.

The practice of manual scavenging, which involves cleaning dry latrines and clearing carcasses with bare hands, is an offence under the Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry (non-flush) Latrines (Prohibition) Act 1993.

Under the same law, the government had committed to eradicate the practice by Dec 31, 2007, but it has now been reset to March 2009.

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