BANGALORE: National Commission for Safai Karmcharis (NCSK) Chairman M Shivanna warned heads of various municipal corporations across the state to ensure that the salary of the contract pourakarmikas is paid by the seventh of every month, or the commission will register a case against them.
Shivanna was in Bangalore and discussed the welfare of manual scavengers and pourakarmikas at the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) on Tuesday. Shivanna told reporters that he would discuss it with Chief Minister Siddaramiah, urging him to abolish the contract system in the pourakarmika’s recruitment.
“The contract pourakarmikas are not getting their salary on time. They are not being given facilities like the provident fund (PF) and ESI. The commissioner should make sure the contract pourakarmikas receive salary on the seventh of every month, else our Commission will take action against the head of the department. In case of BBMP, we will register a case against the Commissioner,” he warned.
Shivanna also said they have instructed the BBMP to recruit and fill the 4,000 pourakarmika posts by absorbing senior contract pourakarmikas. “Instead of paying the contractor, let the corporation pay the same salary as that of regular pourakarmikas to the contract pourakarmikas,” he said.Further, Shivanna stressed on safety kits for pourakarmikas and manual scavengers either by the BBMP or the contractor. Action will be taken against the contractor or the convened authority if a sucking machine is not used, and manual scavenging is an offence, he added. He also directed the commissioner to blacklist contractors who do not pay the salary on time. He also urged the CM to develop a residential layout for manual scavengers and pourakarmikas. “Let the government allot 10 acres of land for the same,” he added.
Survey on Manual Scavengers
According to Shivanna, there are 302 manual scavengers in Karnataka of which 202 are in BBMP limits. But there is confusion among pourakarmikas and manual scavengers. At many places, pourakarmikas are asked to clean drains where they end up doing manual scavenging.
However schemes announced for manual scavengers like free education for their children, constructing houses, loan and other schemes are not applicable for the pourakarmikas. Also, some of the states submitted reports stating that they no longer have manual scavengers.
“I do not agree with the present numbers of manual scavengers given by the respective states including Karnataka. I have asked them to conduct a survey again,” he said. He also said there is a meeting he had called on September 29 at New Delhi where they are discussing on extending these facilities to the pourakarmikas.
After receiving a complaint on manual scavengers, the Commission issued a show cause notice to Royal Orchid as well as Karnataka Gold Association. “Two people are doing manual scavenging work in the manhole on the road. Both the parties are not ready to take up the blame. We are filing a case,” Shivanna told reporters.
The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act was enforced last year. “We are registering a case against those who involve people in manual scavenging. In Karnataka, we have registered 14 cases in Karnataka including at Mandya, Chamarajanagar and KR Nagar against officials as well as private people,” he said.
Shivanna further said he is writing to the chief ministers and chief secretaries of all states to constitute a state-level Commission for Safai Karamcharies whose role is to monitor manual scavengers.
This has to be followed by all the States. The National Commission members will visit all the districts.
The State Commission should conduct awareness programmes once in three months where officials concernedshould participate, he added.