Though the closure of the Vilappilsala waste treatment plant turns one year on Friday, the Kudumbashree Cleanwell workers, at the receiving end of it all, are still groping in the dark and many remain jobless till date.
The demand of the workers is to either grant them an amount as pension or to give a job. “We need a job and it does not matter if it is a daily wage job or contract labour. Among us, some people fell sick after the plant closure and can’t find a means for treatment. It would be good if they are allowed pension,” said M A Susi, secretary of the Kudumbashree Cleanwell Thozhil Samrakshana Vedi.
A majority of the workers were sole breadwinners or single women. Some of them have taken up other jobs for survival. But they complain that they have not received any assurance from the Corporation on getting back their old job. In this regard, they have only one option before them; to collect plastic waste from households, but this project still has miles to go to be realised. “It will not be resumed soon. When we enquire, the reply is that the process is not yet over,” said Susi.
The Corporation says that it has done its part in helping the Kudumbashree Cleanwell workers. “The Cleanwell workers were deployed in hospitals such as Medical College and SAT Hospital in the city. We have found that a good number of them have taken up other jobs and only a few are still left jobless,” said Mayor K Chandrika.
The Mayor also reiterated the Corporation’s stand that the Cleanwell workers had taken up the job as a way of self-employment and the Corporation had granted them a sum of Rs 10,000 as relief. “The plastic collection has resumed in the city and the workers are collecting them on Sundays,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Cleanwell workers in the city got together at the Kudumbasree Mission Office and requested the Mission director to either provide alternative or temporary employment and medical help to those in need.
They said that the promise by the Social Welfare Minister and the Urban Affairs Minister to take an initiative to solve the crisis had not been kept. The workers said that the Ministers should immediately call meetings to solve the issues and threatened to go ahead with an indefinite strike plan in front of ministerial bungalows if their demands were not met.