Rahul Gandhi assures safai karmacharis of nation wide contract abolition

Rahul Gandhi assures safai karmacharis of nation wide contract abolition

AICC president Rahul Gandhi on Sunday promised abolition of contractual employment of safai karamcharis all over India if his party came to power in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Rahul spent nearly 15 minutes interacting with a group of safai karamcharis - pourakarmikas as they are known in Karnataka - during the last day of his Janaarshirvada Yatra in Bengaluru.

"If we get to govern in Delhi, we will learn from Karnataka," Rahul said during the interaction after pourakarmika Oblesh told him that the state government was "probably the only Indian state to have abolished the contract system." Oblesh also told Rahul that Karnataka had increased their wages, which benefited nearly two lakh pourakarmikas.

Last year, Karnataka announced the abolition of the contract system for pourakarmikas, who are mostly Dalits, after the workers took to the streets demanding direct payment of wages. Before pourakarmikas were employed by garbage contractors and it was widely held that the contractors would siphon off the civic workers'  wages. Pourakarmikas also alleged that contractors subjected them to bonded labour-like work conditions.

"The person doing the most difficult work should be rewarded the most. The problem in India, the person doing the most difficult work is not rewarded and the person doing the easiest work is rewarded. That's what the Congress party wants to change," Rahul said.

Another pourakarmika Jayamma, while hailing the government for having responded to their demands, pointed out that pourakarmikas were yet to be made permanent employees of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), the city's municipal corporation. In response, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah informed Rahul that the government had started the process of making pourakarmikas permanent.

Before the interaction, which took place near Mantri Mall in Malleswaram, Rahul garlanded a nearby statue of his father, former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.

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