New Delhi: The Delhi high court on Tuesday pulled up the Public Works Department (PWD) of the state government for the use of manual scavengers by contractors in de-silting drains. A bench of justices S Ravindra Bhat and S P Garg asked the PWD how it had allowed the prohibited activity of manual scavenging and why it was not supervising the work of its contractors.
It asked the PWD to compile data on the number of manual scavengers being used by contractors and how it planned to deal with the problem. Three sanitation workers died of asphyxiation while cleaning a drain in Delhi last week.
The Delhi government department also faced flak from the court for the alleged levelling and encroachment of the Kushak storm water drain under the Barapullah flyover.The bench told the PWD to initiate immediate action to remove all encroachments as well as buses parked there. The court was also displeased with the conflicting statements made before it by the PWD, which earlier said work on the Barapullah bridge would be finished by the end of June 2017, which it later extended to July 2017. on Tuesday, the department said work would be over by December 31.
“Can you set a timeline and stick to it,” the court asked. The court also pulled up municipal corporations for not filing data on the number of safai karamchaaris employed by them. The court had sought the data in May this year. It directed the corporations to submit the information before the next date of hearing on August 16. Directions were also issued to the DJB to give an action plan addressing the issue of untreated sewage.