VIJAYAWADA: Sanitation staff who worked tirelessly during the 12-day Krishna Pushkarams, ended up with lesser wages than the daily wage of Rs 400 promised by the authorities. Thanks to the contractors who pocketed a good 30 per cent of the total pay promised to the sanitation workers.
As against the total sanction of Rs 10 crore towards the wages of sanitation staff, Rs 6 crore were released on August 22. After facing serious ire from the sanitation staff, the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) released the arrears amount of Rs 4 crore.
Nearly 21,000 sanitation workers were deployed by the VMC on special duties during the river festival for cleaning the garbage in Vijayawada city. They were promised a daily wage of Rs 400 each for the 12 days. The government has released Rs 10 crore in two phases. However, majority of the sanitation staff were paid less than Rs 300 per day as final payment. The contractors who hired the workers paid a meagre Rs 250 per day for male and Rs 175 for female for the first eights days of the Pushkarams.
Despite the norms suggesting that there should be no gender descrimination in payment of the wages, the contractors have denied equal pay to women labourers. In the second phase, they paid Rs 300 each to both male and female workers for the last four days.
“We were clearly cheated and discriminated. They assured Rs 400 daily for all, irrespective of the gender. But, they paid us only Rs 2,600 for 12 days against the promised Rs 4,800 as final payment,” lamented D Padmaja, a sanitation worker from Bapatla in Guntur district.
The issue of meagre payment for sanitation staff was taken into the notice of municipal commissioner G Veerapandian and VMC chief medical and health officer M Gopi Naik, said AP Municipal Corporation Employees Union state leader M David.