As many as 110 people died of asphyxia while cleaning sewers and septic tanks in India last year, which is the highest since 2015.
On Tuesday, Union Minister Ramdas Athawale said 57 people died cleaning sewers and septic tanks in 2015, 48 died in 2016, 93 in 2017, and 68 in 2018.
While answering a written question in Lok Sabha, the MoS for social justice and empowerment said Uttar Pradesh topped the list of sewer related deaths last year with 21,
Maharashtra had 17, Gujarat had 16, and Tamil Nadu had 15.
The families of the 44 safai karamcharis that died in 2019 were paid full compensation and 21 received partial amount.
The minister said 62,904 manual scavengers have been identified between December 6, 2013, and January 31, 2002, in India.
The main reason for manual scavenging is the existence of insanitary latrines, which require manual cleaning.
Under the Swachh Bharat Mission of the current government, the insanitary latrines have been identified and were being converted to eliminate the need for manual cleaning.
Union Minister Ramdas Athawale said under Section 5 of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act 2013, violators could be convicted for up to 2 years or fined Rs. 1 lakh.