The Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry has
asked all States and Union Territories to set up emergency response sanitation
The ERSUs are to set up in capital cities of
each State/UT and in all major cities having a municipal corporation and/or
water and sewerage board with population of more than one lakh.
The ERSUs would include trained cleaners wearing
protective gear. The district Magistrate or municipal commissioner would be
designated as the Responsible Sanitation Authority, which would organise the
staff for the ERSU.
Those trained, equipped and certified as sewer
entry professionals would be the only ones allowed to enter sewers and septic
The decision to set up ERSUs comes in the
backdrop of recent incidents of workers dying while cleaning sewers and septic
tanks as private individuals, local bodies and contractors force people to
enter sewers and tanks.
Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers
and their Rehabilitation Act 2013 prohibit employment as manual scavengers. It
also prohibits hazardous manual cleaning of sewer and septic tanks.