Pourakarmikas strive to clean city at risk of own lives

Pourakarmikas strive to clean city at risk of own lives

Pourakarmikas, who work hard to remove trash and sanitary hazards in the City are themselves at the greatest risk of endangering their health. Most lack essential safety equipment, including handgloves, shoes and even masks.

A total of 79 pourakarmikas and three supervisors will be involved in the cleanup work that was resumed a few days ago. They have been provided three vehicles to transport the garbage.

The Council had originally suspended several pourakarmikas several months ago, but most returned to work ten days ago on a trial basis on the order of the City Municipal Council (CMC). “We will review their work before appointing them. They will not be given a salary until they are officially appointed. Besides, safety equipment will also be issued once the drive is launched officially,” said CMC Commissioner M Mahendra Kumar
Garbage will be cleared everyday in the city’s 12 wards — for which the Council had invited an annual tender for Rs 99 lakh. “The tender process is complete now and the contract would be awarded to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) contractor Srinath Reddy. The final procedure needs to be completed as garbage disposal will be made official in a few days. In the remaining wards, permanent pourakarmikas will continue to work,” Kumar added.

Underpaid

Pourakarmikas, who were originally paid some Rs 2,000 to Rs 3,000 each month, are now set to receive Rs 7,000 every month under a new ruling, Kumar said. “The amount will be deposited in their account directly,” he told Deccan Herald.

Rejecting demands to privatise the process of garbage disposal, District Pourakarmikara Sangha president Gandhinagar Narayanswami said that, “If garbage disposal is privatised what work would councillors have? Why should it be privatised?”

The Council requires at least 300 workers for garbage disposal. Currently, the services of 70 workers have been ‘regularised’ by the government— of which 40 people are being used to clear the trash. The remaining tend to gardens and other works. Although the Council has an insufficient number of pourakarmikas to adequately tackle the waste problem, it has not made any effort to appoint other workers. Narayanswami proposed that the civic body submit a proposal to the Urban Development Authority over the matter.

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