Without Pay For The Last 6 Months, Bengaluru Civic Worker Kills Self; Thousands Still Await Salary
40-year-old Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) worker, Subramani, took his own life on July 8. He had been working with BBMP for 15 years, however, for the last six months, he was not paid his salary. He is survived by his wife and his two kids aged ten and seven.
Subramani was living with his wife and children in Muneshwara block. He allegedly committed suicide by consuming poison. He was brought to the hospital by his wife Savita where he was declared brought dead by the doctors.
Subramani used to work in ward number 77, the Dattatreya Temple ward as a cleaner. Reportedly, in the suicide note which he left, he wrote that he didn’t have money to pay for food and other essentials for the family. He was even forced to pull out his children from school as he was unable to pay the fees. Subramani had even approached BBMP, asking them to credit his salary.
The family of the deceased has blamed the BBMP Health Inspector and Assistant Executive Engineer, Solid Waste Management over non-payment of dues.
FIR has been registered at the Vyalikaval Police Station. Sudhakar KH, a police officer, told The News Minute, “He had not been paid his salary for the last six months, and he was in deep financial trouble. His wife has filed a complaint saying this was the reason he committed suicide. We are investigating the incident from all possible angles.”
Right now the case has been registered under IPC 174, suspicious or unnatural death. However, President of the BBMP Guttige Pourakarmika Sangha has said, “This is government-sponsored murder. The BBMP officials demand Rs 500-1,000 per sweeper when they go to ask for their pay. If they refuse, salaries are withheld. Subramani begged the BBMP to pay him his salary. He had told them that he has two daughters whom he has to support and with the pressure from the private moneylenders to repay the loan, he had no choice but to commit suicide. They didn’t listen to his pleas. They humiliated him and dared him to kill himself.”
“Subramani was the go-to man for his immediate family as well as his relatives. He always stayed away from trouble and was always conscious of his financial status. He was forced to borrow Rs 1.5 lakh to run his family in the past few months as he hadn’t received his salary. The burden was too much for him and the interest payment was burdening him,” Guruvaiah, a friend of Subramani said to Deccan Herald.
It is being demanded that the case be registered under section 306 (abetment to suicide) and all the concerned officials are held culpable.
Pourakarmikas not paid for six months
There are many BBMP workers or Pourakarmikas, as they are commonly referred to, who have not been paid their salary for upto six months now. Earlier, these contractual workers, who were employed by agencies on behalf of BBMP, were being paid their salaries by the agency itself. However, the contract agencies were accused of not paying the full salary or showing more number of Pourakarmikas than the actual number to claim more money from BBMP. In January this year, a new system was bought in place, wherein the Pourakarmikas were to be directly paid by the BBMP. But even with the new system in place, Pourakarmikas have not been getting their salaries.
Lakshmi Devi. Uma, Shobha, Kondamma clean the streets in Indira Nagar, Bengaluru. They have not been paid salaries for six months. They've pawned off their jewellery, sold their utensils just so that they can continue paying rent. #PayPourakarmikas pic.twitter.com/5fn4bUyjB2
— Prajwal (@prajwalmanipal) July 9, 2018
Over the last six months, several protests have been organised, but unfortunately to no avail. All the demands seems to have fallen on deaf ears, as even today, thousands of these workers continue to work without a salary. They are now being forced to take loans and to sell off jewellery and other valuables to make their ends meet.
The Logical Indian take
These pourakarmikas’ completely live off the meagre salary they receive. For them, it is a hand-to-mouth existence. In such a situation, non-payment or delay in payment of salary adversely affects them and here we are talking about a delay of five-six months. With Subramani committing suicide, it is quite evident that the situation is extremely grave. We request the concerned authorities to look into the matter on priority basis and make sure that the pourakarmikas are paid their full salary.