Situation is no better in other cities

Pourakarmika collects waste at Indiranagar in Bengaluru.

The twin cities of Hubballi and Dharwad, with an official population of 10.68 lakh (as per the 2011 census), have 2,312 civic workers including 1,620 contract-based employees, 119 emergency service employees and 573 permanent employees. Here, there are no drinking water, toilet or restroom facilities available for the civic workers.

While Hubli-Dharwad Municipal Corporation (HDMC) officials claim that they have provided safety gear, a majority of them do not use them as it is inconvenient. Most of them complain of skin diseases, breathing and digestive problems among others.

Officials say they are conducting health check-up camps for the workers once in three months but pourakarmikas are disputing it.

Poor health of civic workers swept under the carpet

‘Personal protective equipment mandatory’

HDMC has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Karnataka Institute of Medical Sciences to provide civic workers with advance medical treatment at a subsidised rate.

While their working hours are from 6.30 am to 2 pm, in some locations they are also deployed in the night, especially in the market area.

In Kalaburagi, an outsourced civic worker, on condition of anonymity said, “The corporation is regularly remitting salary to the bank account. We are being served morning
food. But the corporation is not regularly giving us hand gloves, masks, and shoes. While loading hazardous objects, we sustain injuries. The treatment facility is unsatisfactory.”

Rama in Bengaluru, meanwhile, says that she has not got her health card although she applied for it seven months back and there haven’t been any health check-ups recently. “We go to the government hospitals to get treated,” she said.

Mysuru city has a total of 2,158 pourakarmikas. Out of them, 540 are permanent workers and the rest are working under a contract basis. The Mysuru City Corporation has awarded a contract to four persons, who maintain the contract civic workers.

According to a few pourakarmikas, the authorities are taking measures for the welfare of the civic workers but, they need to be implemented effectively. A few contract workers are deprived of the facilities as the contractors are not issuing the equipment and safety gear.

 

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