June 14th, 2017
Bangalore is facing a lot of trouble with its garbage disposal mechanism as residents of Mittaganahalli and Kannur villages on the outskirts of the city continue to block the garbage-laden trucks from entering the quarries for the second day.
Nearly 6000 Pourakarmikas have decided to go an indefinite strike, which started on Monday, June 13, demanding regularisation of their work, as reported by The Hindu.
The Pourakarmikas are contract workers of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). They have announced that the strike will continue until their demands, as promised by the Siddaramaiah government in May 2016, are met. Work is halted in several areas of the city, including central Bengaluru, Malleswaram, Peenya, Jayanagar, Koramangala, Cox Town and Mahadevapura, according to S. Balan, the president of BBMP Contract Pourakarmikas’ Association.
With the onset of monsoon, the city could be facing sanitation problems with an increase in vector-borne diseases like dengue and malaria, if the issue is not taken care of at the earliest.
Speaking to Times of India, Mysore Narayan, head of Karnataka Rajya Nagarapalike, said it has been more than a year since the state cabinet took a decision to abolish contract method and regularise more than 35,000 Pourakarmikas in the state, including around 30,000 in Bengaluru. “We will not stop the protest and resume work till the promise is fulfilled,” he added.
The demands of the workers
“We want the word ‘contract’ to be removed from our job titles,” said one of the workers in protest.
Pourakarmika demand direct payment of their salaries as many of their salaries have not reached on time for months together. They do not wish to be at the mercy of the contractors and want their well-deserved weekly offs. The workers are also suspicious of the BBMP’s move to implement cooperative societies – they fear it might allow the entry of contractors.
Many workers claim that they are treated as bonded labourers – contractors give the workers temporary shelter in their land and confiscate their ATM cards and passbooks.
The government response
BBMP Commissioner Manjunath Prasad told The Hindu that talks were going on with the Pourakarmika union and that garbage segregation would not be affected by the strike. He said, “Their demands is to do away with the contract system and to receive payments from urban local bodies. This is a decision that has to be implemented by the State government across all town and cities in Karnataka.”
As reported by Deccan Herald, Minister of State for Social Welfare, Government of Karnataka, H Anjaney, announced on Tuesday that the government will take a decision on June 20 regarding the regularisation of 10,000 Pourakarmikas on contract. However, BBMP records show that 28,000 Pourakarmikas are drawing a salary on contract basis every month, whereas only 3,000 are on the municipality’s salary roll.
The announcement drew a lot of flak from the workers who have said that the state government is misrepresenting information by taking 2001 population census and not 2011 census into account to calculate the number of Pourakarmikas who need to be regularised.
Pourakarmikas are employed in accordance with the population of the state.
The Logical Indian intends to bring this issue to notice, highlight the plight of the Pourkarmikas and appeal to the BBMP and Karnataka state government to do the needful.