The President recently gave his assent to the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Bill, 2012.
    
"The law will be implemented immediately. A period of nine months has been given under which all unhygienic latrines have to be demolished," Social Justice Minister Kumari Selja said.
    
The minister said that according to the last census, 26 lakh latrines were found to be unhygienic. "Those who do not abide by the law will face strict action," she said.
    
The Minister said that a law was brought in by the Congress government in 1993 but it was not as successful as the government had wanted as they had left it to the state governments to implement it and it was optional. However, this bill has been made compulsory and they (states) have to implement it.
    
"If such a thing (unhygienic toilet) is found, the local authorities will be held responsible," she said.
    
Selja lamented that the biggest problem with the earlier law was different states filling affidavits in the Supreme Court saying that they do not have the tradition of manual scavengers.
    
She maintained that the government is focused on the rehabilitation of all those who were involved in manual scavenging and also rehabilitating their children.

(Agencies)

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