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INDIA: Municipal employees starving and sick in Ghazipur, Uttar Pradesh

The Social Development Foundation (SDF) reports that Suddhu Rawat, aged 43, and his family are living in appalling conditions due to the nature of his employment. Mr. Rawat can no longer support his family and, his wife and eldest son (aged 18) have needed to find employment. Nonetheless, the family is struggling against hunger and malnutrition and the children don't have finances to attend school.

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ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION - URGENT APPEALS PROGRAM

22 April 2005

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HA-09-2005: INDIA: Municipal employees starving and sick in Ghazipur, Uttar Pradesh

INDIA: Hunger and malnutrition; poverty; government inaction and neglect; caste discrimination
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Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information from the Social Development Foundation (SDF) in Delhi, India of a disturbing case where the government is playing a vital role in creating poverty and hunger. Suddhu Rawat, his wife, and children are just one of several families living in Ghazipur and employed by the Municipality of Mohammdabad as daily wage labourers. The employees have all been working for the municipality as street/sewer cleaners for over 10 years but have not been guaranteed permanent employment. This means the employees receive less wages, no benefits, health care, social security and job security. They must work everyday and even a day's sick leave will result in the reduction of their income. The families can barely afford food and as a result live in a near hunger situation.

The AHRC urges you to write to the concerned authorities, including the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, and call on them to take necessary action in granting these workers full, permanent employment. The municipal employees should also be provided with the benefits and ration cards necessary to support their own livelihoods.

Urgent Appeals Desk -- Hunger Alert
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)
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DETAILED INFORMATION:

Location: Nagar Palika Parishad Municipality, Mohammdabad, Ghazipur, Uttar Pradesh, India
Persons affected: Suddhu Rawat (43), son of the late Vishuni Rawat, and his family. They include:

1. Jiuti Devi, wife, age 40, illiterate
2. Jitendra, son, age 18, educated up to third standard
3. Dharmendra, son, age 15, educated up to class 5
4. Virendra, son, age 13, educated up to class 5
5. Neha, daughter, age 10, educated up to class 2
6. Surendra, son, age 8, educated up to class 1

Other municipal employees residing in Ghazipur without permanent employment:

Name

Father/Husband

Location

Working Since

 

 1.Suresh Ram<?xml:namespace prefix = o />

late Ghurhu Ram

Adilabad (Mohd.)

01/01/1989

 2.Ramashankar Ram

late Hardev

Semra (Mohd.)

01/08/1989

 3.Girdhari Ram

Mr. Sachchinanda

Rauja (Mohd.)

01/08/1989

 4.Gama Ram

late Bagden

Adilabad (Mohd.)

16/08/1989

 5.Suddhu Ram

late Vishuni Ram

Pakhanpura

01/09/1989

 6.Smt Sanmatia Devi

wife of Sallu Ram

Darji Mohalla (Mohd.)

01/09/1989

 7.Mr. Kedar Ram

son of Tulasi Ram

Do

01/02/1990

 8.Prakash Ram

late Shayam Bihari

Shaikh Tola

01/01/1991

 9.Kanhaiya Ram

late Gariban

Jafarpura

01/01/1991

10.Mrs. Rani Devi

wife of Shri Hari Ram

Shaikh Tola

01/01/1991

11.Satyendra Ram

son of Khirodhar Ram

Dakshin Mohalla

01/01/1991

12.Santosh Ram

son of Nandu Ram

Adilabad (Mohd.)

01.01.1991

13.Mrs. Radhika Devi

wife of Kanhaiya Ram

Jafarpura

01/01/1991

14.Mrs. Gyanati Devi

wife of late Suggan

Jafarpura

01/08/1991

15.Mrs. Chanda Devi

wife of Jeevan Ram

Dakshin Mohalla

15/04/1996


The Social Development Foundation (SDF) reports that Suddhu Rawat, aged 43, and his family are living in appalling conditions due to the nature of his employment. Mr. Rawat can no longer support his family and, his wife and eldest son (aged 18) have needed to find employment. Nonetheless, the family is struggling against hunger and malnutrition and the children don't have finances to attend school.

Mr. Rawat and his family currently live in Mohammdabad. The family is landless, and Rawat is a daily wage labourer who cleans the city streets, sewers and latrines in the municipality of Mohammdabad. He has been employed in this line of work for the last fifteen years although he is able to read and write. He commutes the 4 kilometres to his worksite by bicycle everyday.

The work is terrible and workers are not given the proper safety equipment needed in this type of vocation. As a result, Rawat, along with many of his co-workers, suffer from several illnesses and injuries directly resulting from the job. Rawat's right hand is paralysed and he further suffers from skin and respiratory illnesses. His illnesses have affected his work dramatically and as a result he often brings his eldest son to the work with him, introducing a new generation to this dirty work culture. Further, because Rawat is not a permanent employee, he cannot afford to take sick leave; his salary of Rs. 1750/- per month is further reduced when he takes leave. He also does not get any benefits from the municipality and cannot depend on them for treatment.

The little money that Mr. Rawat does makes is insufficient to support his family. Thus, his wife Jiuti Devi has also taken up employment as a manual scavenger, cleaning human excrement and carrying night-soil (human waste) in private homes on a daily basis. She currently cleans the toilets of 16 families living in the village and in lieu of a salary, is paid in left over rice, bread and pulses. Her work is disgusting, humiliating and discriminatory but is all she can find because of her "untouchability". Still, despite her efforts to secure food for her family, the family lives in a near hunger situation.

Mr. Rawat and his family members all live in abject poverty and are malnourished and hungry. Yet, not one family member possesses a government issued Below Poverty Line (BPL) card. Instead, Rawat holds an Above the Poverty Line (APL) card which allows him to buy rations from the Public Distribution Shop (PDS) and only 3 litres of kerosene per month, which he still cannot afford. A small home is also being constructed for his family by the Indira Awas scheme however he still needs the means to afford food, medical treatment and schooling, and should be provided the appropriate permanent work and poverty alleviation cards to support his family.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

The government of India prohibits manual scavenging yet we see how circumstances and caste discrimination have compelled Suddhu Rawat and his family to get involved in this line of work. A large number of manual latrines are still prevalent in Mohammdabad and the demand for manual scavenging is high. Many other villagers and employees of the Nagar Palika Parishad (municipal council) suffer in similar circumstances and because of their non-permanent job status live in a near hunger situation.

The Nagar Palika Parishad in Mohammdabad has not confirmed employment of 15 employees, including Suddhu Rawat, who have been working under the municipality for over 15 years. Mohammdabad is a rural town in Ghazipur district with a population of over 150,000 people. The workers are paid Rs. 1750/- per month and receive no work benefits, leave, health care or provident fund. Their jobs are not secure, they work every day of the year, even during floods and holidays, and they suffer significant reductions in salary if they take sick leave. Further, they clean the streets and sewers of the village without masks, headgear and safety equipment. Many suffer from respiratory and skin diseases as a result of this work. Being upgrade to permanent employment status would at the very least provide these workers with better pay scales to provide food and medical care for their families, social security, job security and holidays.

The municipal employees have petitioned for permanent employment but they have had no results. On July 10, 2003 Mr. Rakesh Bahadur, Secretary of the Uttar Pradesh government, wrote to all executives, district magistrates and related municipal officials in the state citing government rules that all employees appointed by a municipality before June 20, 1991 who have completed three years of term should be granted permanent employment inclusive of all benefits (notification no. 1335/9-1-03). While the 15 workers have appealed to the municipality with this notification they have still not received permanent work status. Thus, the workers and their families continue to live in abject poverty and hunger and have had to rely on manual scavenging as supplementary work.

Please write to government officials and other related local authorities in Mohammdabad, Ghazipur and Uttar Pradesh asking them to find permanent employment for Suddhu Rawat and the many other municipal employees in the State suffering the same fate.

SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please write to the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, the District Magistrate of Ghazipur, the Chief Executive Officer of Nagar Palika Parishad, Mohammadabad, and other relevant government officials regarding the poor living conditions and employment concerns of the victims. The employees, in accordance with government laws, should be granted social security, leave benefits, safety equipment, health benefits and schooling for their children. A sample letter follows.

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Dear Mr. ------------

Re: Municipal Employees starving and sick in Ghazipur, Uttar Pradesh, India

Location: Nagar Palika Parishad Municipality, Mohammdabad, Ghazipur, Uttar Pradesh, India
Persons affected:

Name

Father/Husband

Location

Working Since

 1.Suresh Ram

late Ghurhu Ram

Adilabad (Mohd.)

01/01/1989

 2.Ramashankar Ram

late Hardev

Semra (Mohd.)

01/08/1989

 3.Girdhari Ram

Mr. Sachchinanda

Rauja (Mohd.)

01/08/1989

 4.Gama Ram

late Bagden

Adilabad (Mohd.)

16/08/1989

 5.Suddhu Ram

late Vishuni Ram

Pakhanpura

01/09/1989

 6.Smt Sanmatia Devi

wife of Sallu Ram

Darji Mohalla (Mohd.)

01/09/1989

 7.Mr. Kedar Ram

son of Tulasi Ram

Do

01/02/1990

 8.Prakash Ram

late Shayam Bihari

Shaikh Tola

01/01/1991

 9.Kanhaiya Ram

late Gariban

Jafarpura

01/01/1991

10.Mrs. Rani Devi

wife of Shri Hari Ram

Shaikh Tola

01/01/1991

11.Satyendra Ram

son of Khirodhar Ram

Dakshin Mohalla

01/01/1991

12.Santosh Ram

son of Nandu Ram

Adilabad (Mohd.)

01.01.1991

13.Mrs. Radhika Devi

wife of Kanhaiya Ram

Jafarpura

01/01/1991

14.Mrs. Gyanati Devi

wife of late Suggan

Jafarpura

01/08/1991

15.Mrs. Chanda Devi

wife of Jeevan Ram

Dakshin Mohalla

15/04/1996

 

It has come to my attention that several workers and their families employed by the Nagar Palika Parishad (municipality) of Mohammdabad have been living in near hunger conditions for many years. Fifteen people who have worked as city street and sewer cleaners for over 15 years are petitioning the municipality for permanent employee status. Currently, the labourers work everyday of the year with no benefits, safety equipment, job security, social security and medical care. They are disposable and often have their Rs. 1750/- per month wages significantly reduced if they must take sick leave from work. The workers also suffer from several skin and respiratory diseases due to the nature of their work. Permanent work status would give these employees their much needed benefits.

 

Mr. Suddhu Rawat, aged 43, is one such employee who has suffered greatly from his employment. I was informed that Mr. Rawat suffers from a paralysed right hand as well as skin and respiratory illnesses. Therefore, Mr. Rawat is often unable to complete his work and must bring his 18 year-old son with him to finish his tasks.  As a result, his family can no longer afford enough food and the children no longer attend school. Mr. Rawat's wife, Jiuti Devi, has also taken up work as a manual scavenger, cleaning toilets and carrying night-soil (human waste) in exchange for leftover rice, bread and pulses. Manual scavenging is prohibited in India yet is still prevalent around the country.  The work is terrible and provides little; the family continues to live in abject poverty and is under-nourished.

 

It is reported that a notification (no. 1335/9-1-03) written by Mr. Rakesh Bahadur, Secretary of Uttar Pradesh government, on July 10, 2003 was sent to all executives, district magistrates and municipal officials concerning municipal employees in the state. His letter stated that as per government law, all people who were appointed to the municipality before Jun 29, 1991 and those who completed three years of term should be granted permanent employee status with all benefits. The fifteen workers above have appealed to local authorities on several occasions and await this law to be upheld in their case.

 

I am saddened that workers employed by the government have to live in such difficult circumstances. I request that you investigate this matter further and provide the necessary arrangements for these employees as is mandated by Indian law. The workers should immediately receive permanent employment and benefits suitable to their conditions. At work, they should be provided with the necessary safety equipment and should be given medical treatment for their injuries and illness incurred at work. Further, their children should be provided with schooling and the families must be provided with the appropriate Antyodaya ration cards. Finally, as manual scavenging is illegal in India, I hope the government will investigate this situation and provide rehabilitation for the victims that must do this work.     

 Yours sincerely

 

---

 

PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

 

1. Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav

Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh

Chief Minister's Secretariat

Lucknow

Uttar Pradesh

INDIA

Fax: + 91 522 223 0002/223 9234

Email: cmup@up.nic.in

 

 

2. Mr. KM Pandey

District Magistrate of Ghazipur

Collectorate, Ghazipur

Uttar Pradesh

INDIA

Tel: +91 548 222 0204

Fax: +91 548 222 0160

 

3. Mr. Shamim Ahmad

The Chairman

Nagar Palika Parishad,

Mohammdabad,

District Ghazipur

Uttar Pradesh – 233 227

INDIA

 

PLEASE SEND COPIES TO:

 

1. Chairman

National Commission for Scheduled Castes

5th

Floor, Loknayak Bhawan,

Khan Market,

New Delhi-110 003

Tel: +91 11 2 4632298 / 2 4620435

E-mail: chairman-ncscst@ncscst.nic.in

 

 

2. The Chairman

National Commission for Safai Karmcharis

Lok Nayak Bhavan

Khan Market

New Delhi - 100003

INDIA

 

3. Justice Ramesh Chandra Lahoti

Chief Justice of India

Supreme Court of India

New Delhi 110001

INDIA

Fax: +91-11-23383792/23381508

 

4. Justice A. S. Anand

National Human Rights Commission of India

Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg

New Delhi 110001

India

Tel: +91-11 23382742

Fax: +91-11 23384863

Email: mailto:covdnhrc@nic.in, mailto:ionhrc@nic.in

 

 

5. Justice A P Mishra

Chairperson

Uttar Pradesh Human Rights Commission

1/183, Vineet Khand, Gomti Nagar,

Lucknow - 226010

Uttar Pradesh

INDIA

Tel: + 91 522-2726764

Fax: + 91 522-2726743

Email: uphrc@sancharnet.in

 

 

6. Mr. Jean Ziegler

UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food

c/o Mr. Carlos Villan Duran

Room 4-066 

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights,

Palais Wilson,

Rue des Paquis 52, Geneva

Switzerland

Fax: +41 22 917 9010

Email: sect.hchr@unog.ch

 

 

7. Professor Arjun K Sengupta

UN Special Rapporteur Independent Expert on human rights and extreme poverty

c/o Mr Renaud Detalle

Room 4-040, OHCHR-UNOG

Palais Wilson, Rue des Paquis 52

1211 Geneva 10

Switzerland

Tel: +41-22-917 9831

Fax: +41-22-917 9010

 

8. Mr. Doudou Diene

UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance

C/o OHCHR-UNOG

1211 Geneva 10

SWITZERLAND

Tel: +41 22 917 9271

Fax: +41 22 917 9050

 

9. Mr Pedro Medrano Rojas

Country Director

World Food Programme

2 Poorvi Marg,

Vasant Vihar,

New Delhi 110057

INDIA

Tel: +91-11-26150000

Fax: +91-11-26150019

Email: wfp.newdelhi@wfp.org

 

 

 

Thank you.

 

Urgent Appeals Programme -- Hunger Alert

Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)
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