Maharashtra to rid Pandharpur of manual scavenging
Mumbai, July 17 : A day after Bollywood star Aamir Khan met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the plight of manual scavengers, the Maharashtra government Tuesday said it would strictly enforce the ban on the practice in the temple town of Pandharpur in Sholapur district.
The announcement was made by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan in the state legislature where he assured the house that the curbs on the practice, banned nearly 20 years ago, would be strictly implemented.
Chavan said that a rehabilitation plan would be made for the manual scavangers.
The announcement came a day after nearly 200 manual scavengers from all over Maharashtra staged a demonstration in south Mumbai demanding alternative employment opportunities, social rehabilitation and education for the estimated 35,000 of their ilk in the state.
The issue - which came into national focus after Aamir Khan's recent TV show "Satyamev Jayate" - was raised in the assembly by Leader of Opposition Eknath Khadse of the Bharatiya Janata Party, who pointed out how manual scavenging continued unhindered in Pandharpur despite the 1993 ban.
The Nationalist Congress Party's Jitendra Avhad charged the government of not implementing the ban strictly.