Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
Even with a safe water supply, bad sanitation creates conditions favourable to the spread of disease. In many of the housing areas we visited sanitary conditions were deplorable and were bound to have the most detrimental effect on general health. With better organisation of health departments and sanitary staffs, improvements in this respect should be secured. We must also remark on the great lack of latrine accommodation in every industrial area we have seen.
It is well known that hookworm infection and hookworm disease exist to a considerable degree over large parts of India, and the serious effects of this parasite on the physical health and efficiency of the worker are equally well known. In a few centres attempts have been made to carry out periodical mass treatment of the workers, but little has been done to prevent re-infection by providing sanitary conveniences of acceptable types. Most of our medical witnesses and some employers have assured us that the Indian worker can be persuaded to use latrines if these are kept in a decently sanitary condition, and our own observations confirm this verdict. An incident brought to our notice in Howrah illustrates this point. The septic-tank latrines provided in the mill bustees are used to such an extent by outsiders living in the vicinity that it is found necessary to close them periodically in order that they may not be put out of action by over-use. It was not surprising that the workers refused to use the filthy accommodation often placed at their disposal. This is a matter which can be corrected without great expenditure, judging from the success obtained in several areas. Local bodies and municipal councils are responsible for the provision of latrines in the housing areas under their supervision. More vigorous action on their part, with the co-operation of employers, would meet with a response from the workers and would result in their attaining a higher standard of health and a correspondingly greater efficiency.