In spite of the abolishing of contract labour system and civic workers coming under direct payment system, pourakarmikas of Bengaluru are still looking for solutions for problems they face on a day-to-day basis such as wages and health concerns. BBMP Special Commissioner D Randeep spoke to Anupama Ramakrishnan of DH on what measures are being taken to address their issues.
Are the wages for pourakarmikas being paid on the basis of equal pay for equal work after the direct payment system came into being?
About 15,000 of them are paid minimum wages as on date in line with Labour Department rules as they have been taken on board for direct payment by the BBMP through exemption provided by the Labour Department.
As far as ESI and PF are concerned, although the order has been issued, some workers say they have not received the old dues.
We are first ensuring all direct payment for pourakarmikas to help them get their ESI and PF card and numbers so that they can check their account credit details. Wage slips are being given in wards to pourakarmikas so that they can check the disbursements made. If any old arrears are not paid, that is being checked on a case to case basis.
Are facilities like drinking water, model safety equipment and toilet facilities available for all the pourakarmikas in all areas?
Personal protective equipment is mandatory for all pourakarmikas and waste handlers. Gloves and masks have to be given at least once in two months and uniform/protective boots etc are distributed once a year by BBMP for its 17,000 plus pourakarmikas. Contractors have to ensure such equipment for their waste handlers. Penalties are being imposed on Supervisor, JHI and Contractor in case directions are not followed.
We are also making restroom provisions exclusively for pourakarmikas where they can change, have drinking water and restroom facility. Ward 18 has a model restroom built recently.
How best can educational and housing facilities be accorded to the pourakarmikas and their children?
Education reimbursement is provided for pourakarmikas’ children. Housing scheme facilities are available under Gruha Bhagya for permanent pourakarmikas.
Are there any healthcare awareness programmes for the workers?
Highest priority is given for healthcare facilities to pourakarmikas. Regular health camps are held at ward level.