Safai Mitra Suraksha Challenge has been launched by Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry on World Toilet Day. Safaimitra Suraksha Challenge has been started across 243 cities in the country to mechanize all sewer and septic tank cleaning operations from 19 November to August 2021. The campaign would ensure that no life of any sewer or septic tank cleaner is ever lost again owing to the issue of “hazardous cleaning”.
Safai Mitra Suraksha Challenge 2020
Safai Mitra Suraksha Challenge is aimed at preventing hazardous cleaning of sewers and septic tanks and promote mechanised cleaning. The competition will focus extensively on creating citizen awareness on this critical issue. In addition to this, govt. will focus on infrastructure creation for mechanised cleaning and capacity building of workforce.
Important Dates for Safaimitra Suraksha Challenge
|Starting Date for Safai Mitra Suraksha Challenge||19 November 2020|
|Last Date for Safai Mitra Suraksha Challenge||30 April 2020|
|On-ground assessment of participating cities by an independent agency||May 2021|
|Declaration of Results of the Safaimitra Suraksha Challenge||15 August 2021|
All the winning cities will be awarded in 3 sub-categories with total prize money amounting to Rs. 52 crore. As per the official statement, Safaimitra Suraksha Challenge is in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision. The central govt. has always placed the safety and dignity of sanitation workers at the core of Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban (SBM-U).
Official Launch of Safai Mitra Suraksha Challenge
The virtual launch event saw the Chief Secretaries, State Mission Directors and other Senior State and Union Territories coming together to take a pledge on behalf of 243 cities. This Safai Mitra Suraksha Challenge will mechanise all sewer and septic tank cleaning operations by 30 April 2021. Moreover, these ministers gave their commitment to work towards preventing any deaths from hazardous entry.
Requirement for Safaimitra Suraksha Challenge
The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act (2013) and various judgements of Hon’ble Supreme Court expressly prohibit hazardous cleaning. These judgements prevents manual entry into a septic tank or sewer without protective gear and observing operating procedures.
Despite this, recurring episodes of human fatalities among those engaged in cleaning of septic tanks and sewers, typically belonging to the economically disadvantaged and marginalised communities of society, continue to be an issue of concern. Hardeep Singh Puri, MoHUA Minister also highlighted that success of the challenge does not only depend on the intent and commitment of political representatives, bureaucrats or municipal authorities but also on the citizens of the country.
Involvement of Citizens in Swachhta Campaign
Just like citizens have taken complete ownership of the Swachhata of their cities, their involvement in this Safai Mitra Suraksha Challenge endeavor is absolutely crucial. Central govt. appeals to people to be vigilant and responsible and play their part in saving the lives of the Sanitation or ‘Swachhata Commandos’.
The Safaimitra Suraksha Challenge will focus extensively on creating citizen awareness on this critical issue along with infrastructure creation for mechanised cleaning and capacity building of workforce.
Progress of Swachh Bharat Mission Urban (SBM-U)
After the official launch of Swachh Bharat Mission Urban in 2014, SBM-U has made significant progress in the area of both sanitation and solid waste management. As many as 4,337 Urban local bodies (ULBs) have been declared open defecation free (ODF) (except 35 ULBs of West Bengal).
More than 62 lakhs individual household toilets and over 5.9 lakhs community/ public toilets have been constructed. In addition to this, more than 59,900 toilets across 2900 plus cities have been made live on Google Maps. In the area of solid waste management, 97 per cent of wards have 100 per cent door-to door collection while 67 per cent of the total waste generated is being processed.