Karnataka: With no salary, deceased were forced into manual scavenging

As they hadn’t received salary, they were forced to take up the drain-cleaning work, which subsequently snuffed out their lives.

Published: 15th February 2018 05:38 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th February 2018 05:38 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

BENGALURU: The two contract pourakarmikas, who died due to asphyxiation while trying to clean a drain of a basement hotel in AECS Layout in Doddanakundi on Tuesday afternoon, were not paid salary by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike officials, according to BBMP Guttige Powrakarmikara Sangha.

As they hadn’t received salary, they were forced to take up the drain-cleaning work, which subsequently snuffed out their lives. As the hotel’s drains were clogged with kitchen and toilet waste, they were allegedly insisted upon by the manager and supervisor of Hotel YumLok to clear the clog.The sangha has alleged that the BBMP, which is now creating bank accounts for contract pourakarmikas, had not paid their January salaries, and has put many lives of pourakarmikas in trouble.  

“The SWM (Solid Waste Management) contractor of this ward and his associates were extorting money from the workers every month and illegally siphoning off money that was to be given to workers as their minimum wages. The information was repeatedly brought to the attention of the BBMP officials, including the Joint Commissioner (Mahadevapura), through written complaints filed by our Union,” said Clifton D’Rozario, general secretary of the sangha.

BBMP Commissioner N Manjunath Prasad said, “We have received complaints from the pourakarmikas about siphoning off of the money and already criminal cases have been filed. We are creating bank accounts for the contract pourakarmikas to transfer the salary.”“At least 80 percent of the work has been done and the rest will be completed within a week. The salaries will be transferred to the accounts,” he added.  

“Shockingly, this hotel is in the basement of the building and begs the question as to how licence was granted by the BBMP for it. There is an estimate of over 2,000 STPs in Bengaluru, and no regulations have been framed for their maintenance or to ensure safety of workers cleaning them. And the so-called strong laws prohibiting this practice continue to remain paper tigers, while judgments of the Supreme Court and High Courts remain unimplemented,” the sangha said.

2 BBMP officials arrested

Police have arrested two BBMP officials for issuing licence to hotel YumLok to carry
out commercial activities illegally. BBMP Commissioner Manjunath Prasad said, “Removal of illegal commercial establishments is an ongoing process and we are already doing it.”

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