Despite the Supreme Court in 2014 ordering all state governments to pay compensation to the families of workers who died in manholes, the Gujarat government has not heeded the top court. This was exposed through an analysis of documents obtained through RTI, which found that as many as 65 families of deceased manhole workers in the developed state of Gujarat had not received compensation from the state government.
The Gujarat government, which showed tremendous swiftness in implementing the 10% quota for economically weaker sections (ESW) of unreserved castes, showed no such alacrity in compensating sanitation workers belonging to scheduled castes (SC).
While the state government announced Rs 4 lakh compensation for the families of seven workers who died in a septic tank in Dabhoi on Saturday, there are many such families who are yet to receive the compensation due to them.
In March 2014, the Supreme Court, acting on a PIL filed by Bezwada Wilson, founder of the Safai Karmachari Andolan (SKA), prohibited the practice of making persons enter manholes, septic tanks and sewers. The top court also directed state agencies to pay compensation of Rs 10 lakh for manhole deaths and told the government to identify the families of manhole workers who had died since 1993, when manual scavenging was first prohibited.