Images of India : Mumbai’s dehumanised sewer workers…

sew27About 30,000 conservancy workers, also known as sweepers, are employed by the civic authorities in Mumbai. The workers, all of them Dalits collect garbage, sweep the city streets, clean the gutters, load and unload garbage trucks and work in the dumping grounds. Workers often have to get down inside the drains and some of the drainage lines are deep enough to accommodate a double-decker bus. After an hour or so when a worker comes out, he keeps shivering. The work requires no special skills, just a pair of arms and legs and the courage to descend into hell. One “perk” of the job is getting a small house, but many of these homes have to be shared between two or more families. A line drawn on the ground demarcates each family’s territory.