BENGALURU: After ignoring the pleas and protests of hundreds of civic workers for several months, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike has finally woken up from its slumber. But it had to be after a worker, Subramani, took his life after failing to get salary for seven months. On Tuesday, BBMP Commissioner N Manjunatha Prasad issued orders to officials to release the pending salaries immediately and to ensure that they are paid on or before the 7th of every month.
At a meeting held on Tuesday, the Commissioner issued directives to the Finance Department of the civic agency to release Rs 27 crore for the month of June to be paid as salary for all 18,330 pourakarmikas (civic workers) who are working for the BBMP as well as 3,385 working on a contract basis for the past one year. “We have paid all the salaries from January to May this year. We pay around `27 crore per month as salary and only the payment for the month of June was pending for which I have ordered the release of funds to the zonal authorities,” he said.
These officials will in turn credit salaries to the workers’ accounts. However, the BJP demanded the Mayor’s resignation “Now the Commissioner has issued a circular asking his officials to clear all the pending salaries. Had they done it before, a life would have been saved. We demand the Mayor’s resignation,” said Padmanabha Reddy, Opposition leader in BBMP Council, adding that their demand was that all pourakarmikas should be added to the list of regular employees.
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To ensure the steady credit of salaries from next month, BBMP also decided to download the biometric attendance from the portal on the first of every month and process it so that salaries would be credited before the 7th of every month. The Commissioner also asked the Information Technology department to make a map of pourakarmikas and auto-tipper blocks roadwise within the next two days. Prasad said that ESI and PF details must be linked and the money remitted within 3 days. These reforms, if implemented, would benefit thousands of civic workers who have had to wage a long and costly battle with BBMP for their salaries and other rights.
Non-payment of salaries and poor working conditions haunt pourakarmikas. But instead of meeting these needs, government spends crores to send them to foreign locales on ‘study tours’.