BENGALURU:Acute shortage of pourakarmikas compounded by irregularities in their hiring led to the death of the 40-year-old S Subramani on Sunday.He is one among around 3,000 excess pourakarmikas who was hired by various individuals and contractors to take up waste disposal work, but without knowing that he was on the list to be relieved of duties.
Last year, the state government issued an order and decided to retain BBMP pourakarmikas in the ratio of one pourakarmika for every 700 residents. Subsequently, in October 2017, BBMP decided to pay salaries directly to the pourakarmikas’ accounts. Under this new system, there were 18,330 pourakarmikas who were supposed to get montly payments of `17,457.
The salary was supposed to be paid before the seventh of every month. But the garbage contractor’s lobby was delaying the implementation.BBMP Commissioner Manjunath Prasad told The New Indian Express that after government issued the order and fixed one pourakarmika for 700 residents, some people enrolled as “pourakarmikas” without BBMP officials knowing about it.
“We have estimated that around 3,000 pourakarmikas were hired in excess, and these workers worked with BBMP for more than six months. Last month, an order was issued by the then BBMP Commissioner to pay these excess pourakarmikas their pending arrears and relieve them as we wanted to stick to the to 1:700 ratio. There was a meeting convened by Deputy CM too. We are directly sending salaries to our 18,000-odd pourakarmikas,’’ he said.
Manjunath confirmed that the deceased Subramani was one among these 3,000 excess staff. “We had directed our officials to clear their salary dues and relieve them. All the wards in West Zone, except Ward number 77 (Dattatreya Ward) where Subramani was working, pending payments had been cleared. In this case, three officials from West Zone — Chief Engineer, Assistant Executive Engineer and Health inspector — have been suspended,’’ he said.
Official sources from BBMP said though BBMP had restricted the number of pourakarmikas in the city to about 18,000, in many wards, the local councillor or MLAs, and officials too, were involved in hiring excess pourakarmikas whose number is now more than 3,000. A source in BBMP siad, “Since existing number of pourakarmikas are insufficient, they are taking the help of others and we are not able to keep tabs on whether they are paid or not,’’ sources said.
S Balan, President, BBMP Contract Pourakarmika Association, said after government issued the order, salary was supposed to be credited directly to pourakarmikas’ acocunts. “But thousands of pourakarmikas have not been getting their salaries for the last three to eight months,” he said.The data on pourakarmikas was supposed to be maintained by the BBMP officials using biometric equipment. “But I have seen people who are not from BBMP handling biometric attendance making way for illegal payments to people of their choice,” Balan said.