At review meet, pathetic condition of UGD workers comes to light

Feb 23, 2018

Mysuru: The pathetic living conditions of pourakarmikasengaged in cleaning of underground drains (UGDs) came to light on Thursday during a review meeting undertaken by the chairman of the National Safaikarmachari Commission Mahanar Valijbai Zala. One of the most shocking revelations was that, of the 50 pourakarmikas who clean the underground drains (UGDs), 24 have not received wages.
Zala was in the city to review the extent to which the welfare programmes initiated by Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) for pourakarmikas had benefitted the community. Among those present at the meeting were Jagadish Hiremani, a member of the commission, MCC commissioner G Jagadeesha and mayor S Bhagyavathi.

Member of the BR Ambedkar Adi Dravida Yuvakara Abhivruddhi Mahasabha, Palaniswamy appreciated the MCC for initiating many welfare programmes for the benefit of pourakarmikas. But, he also enjoined on the MCC to provide salary to the 50 UGD workers. When Jagadeesha sought an explanation from MCC’s execeutive engineer for UGDs Yadav on for this failure, the latter responded that they had been coming to work although there was no approval.

Miffed with the response, the pourakarmikas, and Palaniswamy, informed the other members at the meeting that they were willing to take them and show where they had been made to work. Some of the UGD workers even threatened protest.

The National Safaikarmachari Commission was informed that the MCC had more than 300 workers to clean the UGDs, working for the agency for the past eight years. Around 50 of them had been hired a year ago. What was alarming was that even those who have been working for the MCC for over eight years were not getting paid salary regularly, and their ESI and PF benefits had not been paid in the last couple of months, plunging their financial condition in uncertainty.

Zala discussed the problems of the UGD workers with the MCC officials, and spoke on the possible ways of getting the workers permanently employed by the civic body. The members of the commission assured the pourakarmikas that they would get their salaries soon. When pourakarmikas complained of contractors not providing them the necessary protective gear, Zala instructed Jagadeesha to ensure this was rectified.

When Zala and Jagadeesha found that the workers cleaning the UGD at Kurubarahalli were not equipped with necessary protective gear, the officials were directed to rectify this lacuna.

Zala also said that there was a need to raise awareness on the benefits available for Dalits.

Zala said that he was contemplating issuing a notice to those officials who were absent at the meeting. He was none too pleased that officials from a few departments played truant. When he lauded Jagadeesha and the MCC for their efforts in keeping the city clean, the offcials responded saying that they were positive of bagging the Cleanest City award this time around.