BENGALURU: “My mother has been working since the time I was a baby. It would be nice to see her getting a day off and resting,” says Monisha, a 18-year-old, who had come to support her mother and several other powrakarmika for their fight against the BBMP contarctors.
“My mother is a very busy lady. She goes to work at 6.30 in the morning and comes home at 3.30 pm. I and my sister manage the household work ,” says Monisha.
She is working at a hotel on Richmond Road to support her family of four. “I will be going to my sister’s parents-teacher meeting next week,” she adds.
Meenakshi is in her 30s and has been working as a powrakarmika for the last 10 years. Till date, she has never taken a day-off and earns `7,300 a month. Meenakshi is proud of the fact that she could provide quality education to both her daughters.
All Monisha wants for her mother is to get a day-off where she can take her mother to trips around the city especially parks. “She loves parks!” she exclaims. “I would take her to Lal Bagh and spend a day there with family,” she adds. Monisha also feels that her mother should be paid more than what she earns now because of her dedication and services. “I want my mother to come home early. The contractors assign two to three powrakarmikaras to clean one stretch of road. I want them to assign at least four,” says Monisha.
On International Women’s Day, hundreds of powrakarmikaras gathered to oppose the garbage contract system. However, they were not hopeful that their demands would be met since this isn’t the first time they have been protesting over these demands.
“We have never got a day off. When we are sick and don’t make it to work, we lose our salary. We lose `500 for missing a day’s work,” says 21-year-old Suchitra.
Twenty-nine-year-old Shanti Venkatesh says that she has never taken a day-off in three years and has consistently worked to take care of her three children. “If I get a day off I would like to go watch films in a movie theatre,” she laughs.
“I wouldn’t want to miss Vishnuvardhan and Darshan’s movies,” she adds.
Most of the women said that they could use a day off to do domestic work at home. While they clean the roads for the public, their houses need cleaning as well and they say they don’t have time to do so.
Some of the women say that they would like to go to temples on their day-off and celebrate upcoming festivals such as Ugadi without having to lose their salary.