UMC launches scheme to prevent deaths during sanitation works in TN

The scheme aims to make Tamil Nadu a state with zero fatality during sanitation work and ensure overall safety, well-being and dignified livelihoods of the sanitation workers
The scheme aims to make Tamil Nadu a state with zero fatality during sanitation work and ensure overall safety
The scheme aims to make Tamil Nadu a state with zero fatality during sanitation work and ensure overall safety

CHENNAI: In an effort to implement progressive measures in the space of urban sanitation, the Government of Tamil Nadu along with the support of the Urban Management Centre (UMC) recently launched the Sanitation Workers Development Scheme focusing on various welfare measures to provide benefits to sanitation workers and their families.

The scheme aims to make Tamil Nadu a state with zero fatality during sanitation work and ensure overall safety, well-being and dignified livelihoods of the sanitation workers.

UMC is working along with the Indian Institute for Human Settlements and several government departments including Municipal and Water Supply Department, town and country planning, Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewarage Board and Tamil Nadu Adi Dravidar Housing Development Corporation.

An extensive survey using a digital enumeration tool is being done to identify and map every sanitation worker against all the safety and social welfare schemes of the Government of India and the Government of Tamil Nadu.

Integration of technology, safety devices and appropriate machines would be done to promote the mechanization of sanitation work and ensure safe working conditions.

More than 53,000 sanitation workers will be benefitted from this scheme along with the informal workers that are involved in works like desludging of onsite sanitation systems, maintenance of sewers and operation and maintenance of sewage treatment plants, institutional, public and community toilets.

Speaking about the implementation of the scheme, Meghna Malhotra, Deputy Director, Urban Management Centre and Member, NFSSM Alliance, said, "There is a need to deploy appropriate and adequate machinery and safety gear to ensure accident-free working conditions. The sanitation workers and their families should also be registered under different welfare and social security schemes from both state and centre governments.

"A training ecosystem, based on national and international practices, will also be established in the state. This would target the capacity building of sanitation workers of different job roles to help them enhance their technical and soft skills.

Through a combination of both theory and practical sessions, sanitation workers and their supervisors would learn the proper use of technology and machinery. Apart from the workers, other relevant stakeholders like state officials and those involved in sanitation work will also be provided regular training. This would include sensitization and orientation on various components of the scheme like their roles and responsibilities, safety protocols, and standard operating protocols."

Shiv Das Meena, Additional Chief Secretary, Tamil Nadu Government, said, "The first phase of the scheme shall be implemented in the Greater Chennai Corporation (zone 6), Madurai Corporation, Pudukottai Municipality, Pollachi Municipality and Cheranmahadevi Town Panchayat. The scheme will be eventually expanded to every urban local body in the state."

"It enables the sanitation workers to avail the benefits of various government welfare schemes, ensures their children get proper education, provides necessary skill training to learn the use of new technology and machinery, and offers opportunities for alternative occupations based on their interest, " the secretary added.

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