RA COVID-19 Special Series with KB Obalesh: Lockdown has Pushed Manual Scavengers to the Brink of Starvation

In this episode dedicated to the RA COVID-19 Special Series, K B Obalesh,
State Convener of the Safaikarmachari Kavulu Samithi Karnataka speaks about the realities of manual scavengers as the national lockdown continues.

“Due to the sudden lockdown announcement, the workers were not able to go to their home towns. They managed to eat for the first two days using the food supplies they had with them. But now, they are unable to manage. The organisation has helped them by providing them with grocery items.”

Pourakarmikas are being made to work even now without any shield of security and support, so the organisation approached the courts and made sure that they work only two hours in a day. “It was also stated that they be provided with gloves and masks during work.”

Many manual scavengers had also spent money to celebrate Ugadi (the new year day) and following the lockdown, they suddenly are experiencing an acute shortage of money. Obalesh suggests that the Government should not base provision of facilities on the ownership of ID cards because not every worker has one.

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