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Dry latrines exist in four states: Minister

New Delhi, March 8 (IANS) Even as the cabinet put March-end as deadline for the rehabilitation of manual scavengers in India, a minister said Monday that four states continue to have dry latrines.

‘Dry latrines exist in four states, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand,’ Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Mukul

Wasnik informed the Lok Sabha.

The Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibtion) Act, 1993 prohibits manual scavenging. According to law, no person should be engaged in manual scavenging or construct or maintain dry latrines.

‘So far the act has been adopted by 23 states and all union territories. Manipur and Mizoram have reported they have no dry latrines or are scavenger-free. Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan have their own acts, and Jammu and Kashmir is yet to adopt the act,’ Wasnik said.

‘Sanitation is a state subject. Enforcement of the act lies with the state governments,’ he added.

The cabinet reviewed implementation of the Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers (SRMS) last month – originally intended to cover all beneficiaries by March 31, 2009 – and approved a revised time-frame for coverage of ‘remaining beneficiaries’ by March 31, 2010.

Wasnik further said that the ministry of housing and urban poverty alleviation was implementing the Integrated Low Cost Sanitation Scheme which aims at converting dry latrines into pour flush latrines.

According to reports from states, 1.17 lakh manual scavengers are eligible for rehabilitation under the SRMS.

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