Abolition of contract system of civic workers may spell more trouble

Abolition of contract system of civic workers may spell more trouble

'If implemented, 14K pourakarmikas have to do the job of 32K'

Abolition of contract system of civic workers may spell more trouble

The proposed plan of the state government to manage garbage by regularising jobs of 10,000 pourakarmikas and to do away with the civic workers on contract seems to be on a shaky ground.

 The civic workers across the state had taken to streets earlier this week, demanding regularisation of their services and abolition of contract system in hiring pourakarmikas. Their main complaint against the contractors was that they do not pay the salaries on time and hold back for as long as three months.

There are 198 contractors in the city in as many wards. BBMP seems to be not equipped to provide proper infrastructure such as facilitating tippers and, pushcarts for civic workers.

On record, there are 32,000 pourakarmikas in BBMP. Of these, 4,000 are on the BBMP rolls while the remaining 28,000 are outsourced. The government plans to regularise only 10,000 pourakarmikas leaving the remaining 18,000 jobless. This means that after regularisation there will be just 14,000 pourakarmikas who have to do the job of 32,000 people currently. 

When asked about what would be the alternative arrangement to provide basic facilities to pourakarmikas, Sarfaraz Khan, joint commissioner, BBMP, said, “We are still working on the plan and we can give a clear picture only after the meeting with the Chief Minister on June 19.” BBMP commissioner Manjunatha Prasad also echoed the same words.

 However, Balasubramanya, secretary, Bengaluru Mahanagara Lorry MalikaraHaagu Guttigedarara Sangha, said, “It is not easy to facilitate the clearing of 6,000 metric tonnes of garbage in the city everyday without proper infrastructure. The civic workers in Karnataka are a lucky lot as they earn more than their counterparts in various states in the country. The pourakarmikas in Gujarat and Delhi earn Rs 9,000 per month whereas here it is close to Rs 11,000. Yet, they are not satisfied with it and are asking for more. If this is the kind of attitude they show, we need to think what would they demand for when they become permanent employees and earn more benefits.”

 “Although I agree that there would be problems with some contractors, there cannot be a problem with all 198 contractors in the city. Those civic workers who have a problem should go and lodge a complaint against the contractor. Why are they eliminating the entire contract system for a fault of one or two people? The flaw lies with BBMP officials such as Sarfaraz Khan as well since they know that there is a mismatch between the number of civic workers enrolled and the actual workers,” said Balasubramanya. 
 Kenche Gowda, chairman, Solid Waste Management said: “The assurance of abolitioning the contract system has only been made to take control of the situation right now. It becomes very difficult to manage the garbage crisis without the help of garbage contractors.”

“The civic workers raised their voice against delay in paying salaries. The delay is because the government has asked them to submit the Aadhar card details of the civic workers. Most workers are from Andhra Pradesh and they have registered their name there and they have a different name here. The problems are deep and needs investigation,” added Balasubramanya.