Why is the dirt always on us?

Published: 20th October 2012 10:58 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th October 2012 10:58 AM   |  A+A-


 More than Rs 400 crore has been spent on the waste segregation campaign. And it seems to be a failed investment. And the affected citizens are still confused.

 And more affected are the people directly involved, the pourakamikas and of course, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).

 BBMP has been going gaga over their attempts and success stories on segregation of waste at source in a few localities. But, unfortunately, the BBMP seems to have forgotten to take care of the people who are the main mediators between the people and the campaign for segregation of waste.

 Considering that out of 18,000 pourakarmikas working in the Palike, only 4,000 are regular employees and the rest are contract workers, there is a clear need of attention towards these pourakarmikas.

 S Balan, the president of Contract Pourakarmikas’ Association says, “As far as contract pourakarmikas are concerned neither any regular health check ups are conducted nor they have health cards. We have approached BBMP JC’s and contractors pertaining to the issue many times, but in vain. Many even meet with accidents while clearing the roads but no compensation from the BBMP ever reaches them.”

To this the Joint Commissioner of west zone, BBMP, Dr Chandrashekar says, “We provide them masks and hand gloves regularly but most of them don’t wear it.”

On the similar lines, the Joint Commissioner of east zone Venkateshappa says, “The contract employees have ESI facilities and can avail compensation under it in case of any accident during working hours.”


Working 365 days a year, they are not entitled to casual leave or sick leave.

 S Balan, says, “As per the law the pourakarmikas are entitled to 12 national holidays, 12 earned leaves, 14 causal leaves and 14 sick leaves. They should be paid double wages for working on holidays and on their leaves. So far this has been flouted by the contractors and the BBMP. As far as house rent allowance and conveyance allowance is concerned, none of them have ever received them. In fact, none of them have got any maternity leaves.”

Sarojamma, a pourakarmika in a newly added ward says, “I have not got any leave except during the strike.”

Dr Chandrashekar states, “They have weekly offs but they are not entitled to any other form of leaves like maternity leaves or causal leaves like that of regular employees.”

On this, Balan adds, “Show me one incident where the contract pourakarmikas have got single weekly leave?”


Article 17 of the constitution of India, untouchability (Offences) act 1955, protection of civil rights act 1955, SC/ST ( Prevention of Atrocities) act 1987 and manual scavengers Prohibition) Act 1993 are not pressed in to service to protect right to live and rights at work.

Places like Sadashivnagar, Jayanagar people take their dog for walks early in the morning.

The pourakarmikas are the ones who clear the dogs poop.

This is clear violation of manual scavenging act 1993.


Balan alleges, “Out of the Rs 400 crore that has been spent on waste segregation campaign, I do not think even one-fourth has gone towards the pourakarmikas.” He adds, “The contractors claim to employ 100 pourakarmikas in a particular area, but that is only on paper. The number is only around 40 pourakarmikas. Here they try to make a single person do the work of two persons so that the contractors can put the remaining amount in their pockets."


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