Complaining of long, exhausting hours, they want better protection

Two garbage lorry drivers were killed in an accident late on Sunday night at Medahalli, near Old Madras Road, here. The Avalahalli police, who have registered a case, however, claimed that only one driver, Penchalaiah (53), a resident of Kumbaragundi, died in the serial accident when five lorries were returning after dumping garbage at the Mandur landfill around 11.50 p.m.

“The lorry in the front suddenly braked and the others following could not stop in time. Penchalaiah, who was the driver of the third lorry, was sandwiched between two lorries. He sustained injuries on his chest and head and died due to the impact,” the police said.

Another death?

Sources in the BBMP maintained that another driver Muniraju (43) was also killed in the accident. While Penchalaiah was a BBMP driver, Muniraju was a driver with a garbage contractor. The drivers of other lorries sustained light injuries. Penchalaiah’s son Nagesh (22), who had accompanied him, suffered a leg fracture as he tried to jump out of the lorry.

Mayor D. Venkatesh Murthy, accompanied by Ruling Party Leader N. Nagaraju and Standing Committee for Public Health chairperson S. Venkatesh Babu, handed over a cheque of Rs. 5 lakh to Penchalaiah’s family, comprising his two wives and six children. However, not satisfied, the drivers’ association demanded Rs. 15 lakh saying Penchalaiah had been working with the BBMP for more than two decades.

Inhuman hours

Venkatesh, member of the association, said that the drivers’ work begins at 6.30 a.m. every day and does not end till around 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. the next day. “We get just three or four hours of rest. The drivers are also threatened by the community living near the landfills,” he said.

R. Subramanyam, president of the BBMP Officers’ and Employees’ Association, said: “The communities around the landfills have attacked the drivers, even robbed them of valuables after damaging the vehicles. The problems began when the BBMP started dumping garbage at night.”

He said that garbage should be dumped on BBMP’s landfills during daytime. “Though the drivers put in nearly 22 hours of work, they neither get extra pay nor ex-gratia,” he added.

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