“Approximately 13000 trains run daily out of which 9000 are Passenger trains and 13 million passengers traveling every day. As per Nanda report the railways have cited several reasons for the delay, including prohibitive costs, with one estimate pegging the amount required for bio-toilets at Rs.1,600 crore. With the Indian Railways running a total of 50,000 coaches on date, of which 43,000 coaches are engaged in the passengers service, this means that there are a total of 1,72,000 toilets which are functioning today using technology which is completely unacceptable, in that it requires the use of manual scavengers to clean the human excreta which is directly discharged on to the railway tracks.” (Maila Mukti Yatra 2012-13)
Interviewer: Who cleans the shit when it falls down the train toilet?
Safai karamchari: People like us…
Interviewer: What do you feel about doing this work?
Safai karamchari: Nothing leave it…
In Chennai Central railway station alone, over two hundred sanitation workers are forced to engage in the dehumanising caste-based work of ‘manual scavenging’. This is unconstitutional and perpetuates a caste-based occupation like ‘manual scavenging.’
Documentary was made for Hindu Shutterbug 2012, “Slice of Chennai”, by Forum Against Manual Scavenging (FAMS) along with Amit Kaur, Kokila, Abdul, Manoj and Sudarshan Ramani. For more information on the competition and to vote, visit www.thehindushutterbug.com
To know more and support the fight to eradicate ‘manual scavenging’ follow the links below:
Online Petition: End the scourge of manual scavenging – NOW!
Read an earlier post on this blog, “Safai Karamcharis: Untouchable and Unheard”