GUWAHATI, July 27 - As part of the fight against the practice of manual scavenging, the Assam government has now decided to coordinate the functions of all concerned departments to ensure the prohibition of the ghastly practice as well as for rehabilitation of people engaged in it.
The State government has ordered constitution of vigilance committees in each district and subdivision of Assam as per provisions of the �Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013�.
�The problem of manual scavenging still exists despite laws to prohibit the practice. It happens surreptitiously if not openly. So a concerted effort is needed to ensure that the provisions of the 2013 Act are implemented. As such, the State government decided this week to form district and sub-divisional level vigilance committees,� Commissioner and Secretary (Welfare of Plain Tribes and Backward Classes) Dr M Angamuthu told The Assam Tribune today.
The committees will advise the respective District Magistrates and Sub-Divisional Officers on the actions which are needed to be taken to ensure that the provisions of the Act are properly implemented. �The committees will also oversee the economic and social rehabilitation of manual scavengers. They will coordinate the functions of all concerned agencies with a view to channelise adequate credit for rehabilitation of manual scavengers,� said Dr Angamuthu.
He added that the vigilance committees will also monitor the registration of offences under the 2013 Act and for investigation and persecution of offenders.
�Sub-divisional level officers of the department have a significant role to play in implementation of the Act. Each vigilance committee constituted at district and sub-divisional level shall meet at least once in every three months,� Dr Angamuthu said.
Each district level vigilance committee will be headed by the concerned District Magistrate and will also comprise all members of the State Legislative Assembly belonging to the Scheduled Castes communities elected from the particular district, the Superintendent of Police, the Chief Executive Officer of the Zila Parishad, the chairperson of the municipality of the district headquarters, one representative nominated from the Railways, social workers belonging to organisations working for prohibition of manual scavenging and rehabilitation of manual scavengers, and representatives of financial and credit institutions, among others.
Similarly, the sub-divisional vigilance committee shall comprise the Sub-Divisional Officer (Civil) as the chairperson and will also have representatives of various bodies, government departments, besides NGOs.