Pourakarmikas hold stir over harassment by garbage contractor

Pourakarmikas hold stir over harassment by garbage contractor

More than 300 pourakarmikas staged a protest against garbage contractors at the BBMP head office on Wednesday afternoon, over the harassment of women colleagues in KR Puram last week by garbage contractor Nagesh Kumar.

Six women pourakarmikas had demanded that Kumar pay them their salaries, but he hit them with an iron rod, injuring three of them.

Later, when the workers explained the incident to BBMP Guttige Pourakarmikara Sangha, the latter registered a complaint with the K R Puram police against Kumar. When Kumar came to know about the complaint, he molested a group of women workers. Ratna, a worker and a witness to the incident, said, “He dragged a woman by her hair and touched her inappropriately.” Kumar has gone missing ever since. The workers staged a protest demanding that the contract system be abolished.

“We have been demanding that the direct payment system be brought in for the past several months now. The system should be in place by November, so that we do not face harassment by contractors,” said Govindamma, who has been working for 18 years as a pourakarmika.

Mayor R Sampath Raj addressed the pourakarmikas and assured them that the contractor will be blacklisted and his contract will be cancelled.

“I condemn the incident and it is our duty to ensure the safety of the workers. I have called a meeting of all workers from Bommasandra, Peenya, Mahadevapura and KR Puram on Thursday and will ensure that the salaries are paid at the earliest,” said Raj. Another worker explained how the corporators are hand in glove with the garbage contractors. “There will be 10 people working in the locality, but the attendance will be marked for 20 people, in a bid to siphon off the money,” she said. Ratna, another worker, said her name and that those of a few of her friends have not been listed, though they have been working as pourakarmikas for almost two decades.

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