27/04/2015 11:27 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

Manual Scavenging Needs To End, Says Modi

PRAKASH SINGH via Getty Images
New Delhi, INDIA: In this photo taken, 15 January 2007, Chandrawati, sweeper and drain cleaner by profession, cleans out a drain in the Shahdara area of eastern New Delhi. In 1993, the government banned the practice, known as 'manual scavenging' which existed for centuries before flush toilets were introduced. Under the law, the construction of dry toilets is banned and existing ones are supposed to be demolished. The law also provides for retraining of people doing the job, 04 February 2007. The national government set 2007 as a deadline to eradicate the practice, but officials admitted privately it would take at least three more years to find new employment for the workers. AFP PHOTO/Prakash SINGH (Photo credit should read PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images)

Expressing regret over the continuing practice of manual scavenging, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today sought cooperation to get rid of this "blot" during the 125th birth anniversary of Babasaheb B.R. Ambedkar which is being celebrated this year.

"Does it behove us that manual scavenging is still continuing in the country? I have emphasised that we must get rid of this blot on the 125th anniversary of Babasaheb Ambedkar. We will not tolerate a situation where any of poor person has to engage in manual scavenging," he said in his monthly 'Mann Ki Baat' programme on Sunday.

"We need the cooperation of society. The government will have to carry out its responsibility. I need the support of people to fulfil this endeavour," he added.

Modi said his government has decided to give land in Mumbai for building of a memorial for Ambedkar. The land was in dispute for several years, he said.

In Delhi, an international centre in Ambedkar's name would be established where intellectuals from across the world would research his works and get to know his contributions better, Modi said, adding that the foundation stone of this complex has been laid after two decades.

"What was not done in 20 years, we have pledged to do it in 20 months," he said.

The Prime Minister said the architect of the Indian Constitution, throughout his life, kept advocating the need for education of all."But even today, education has not reached dalits, oppressed and deprived sections of the society, especially the girls," he said.

"On his 125th birth anniversary, let us resolve that daughters of even the poorest of the poor will not remain uneducated in villages, cities or mohallas," he added.

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