For common people drains are repugnant, but for ragpickers they are the goldmine from where they collect rags so that they can feed their families.
According to the ragpickers, after Narendra Modi won Lok Sabha elections they were hoping to get some recognition in the society, but even after one year of the Modi government their condition still remains the same.
"The main contributors in the PM’s Clean India Campaign are ragpickers, but still the law doesn’t recognize us," said 21-year-old Arun, a ragpicker.
There is a drain in Taimoor Nagar in Outer Delhi, which is choked with garbage. It is hard to see water in that drain as the whole drain is covered with filth.
Taimoor Nagar residents said three children drowned in this drain during the monsoon while they were collecting rags but despite the tragedy ragpickers continue to risk their lives and collect rags.
"If we don’t collect rags our families will not survive. Maybe it is our destiny to die like animals," said Javed, a ragpicker.
In drains in Outer Delhi’s Rohini and Rithala area the situation remains the same for ragpickers.
According to a 42-year-old rag-picker, there were no jobs in his village, so he came to Delhi to earn money. He wandered around the city without food and water for two days and finally became a ragpicker.
"I collect the rags from the Yamuna area even during rainy season, when the river water flows at high speed. If I don’t collect the rags I will not get food for a day," he said.
Ragpickers run the largest informal waste management system in the world but there is no policy for their rehabilitation. Some of them collect waste from households and are paid a monthly salary by the resident welfare associations, but others have to make do with what they earn from the sale of waste.
According to Sanjay Gupta from NGO Chetna, people who are helping in making the PM’s vision of a Clean India are socially neglected.
"The main contributors of ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ are being neglected and ill-treated in society. The government should come to their help," said Gupta, adding that no ragpickers means no recycling in India.