Outsourcing impacts COVID-19 containment measures

Tiruchi City Corporation workers spraying disinfectant to sanitise South Kattur in Tiruchi before declaring it a containment zone on Thursday, June 26, 2020.   | Photo Credit: M. Moorthy


Overdependence on outsourced sanitary workers seems to be impacting the COVID-19 containment measures in the city.

Though the civic body claims to be managing garbage collection well, the outsourcing trend has exposed the gap in COVID-19 preventive measures. There are complaints of improper and inefficient disinfectant drive in the affected areas and vulnerable spots.

The sanitary supervisors or inspectors are supposed to send action taken reports on disinfected spots to their senior officers after getting field reports from the concerned workers. However, it is alleged that the field workers failed to carry out disinfectant drive in some areas. There were instances of intervention of senior officials in ensuring clean up measures in the COVID-19 affected places.

“At least two persons tested positive for the virus recently at Inamtharthoppu, a thickly populated residential locality in Thennur. But, the area was not properly disinfected,” N. Jamaluddin, a resident of Thennur, alleged.

When a few patients were diagnosed for COVID-19 initially, the civic officials and field workers worked overtime to contain the spread of the virus. But, it seemed that there has been some laxity now, which is mainly attributed to inefficient supervisory mechanism, observed a former official of the Tiruchi Corporation.

“The pandemic situation warrants a foolproof system right from supervisor to sanitary workers so as to zero in on affected areas and initiate follow up measures. Now, the Corporation heavily depends on outsourced employees and workers. It has had its negative impact,” the retired officer said.

There has been hardly any recruitment to fill up vacancies in Tiruchi City Corporation since 2016-17. Except filling up of vacancies on compassionate grounds, no regular post has been filled up. The civic body has been outsourcing workers to meet various requirements, right from plumbers, electricians to sanitary workers, to manage the day-to-day works.

The Corporation has a strength of 2,100 sanitary workers (sweepers). Of them, 1,418 are outsourced workers and self help group members who have been working on temporary basis. They are paid daily wages at the rate of about ₹580 a day and are mainly used for door- to -door collection of garbage.

Similarly, there are vacancies in the posts of sanitary inspectors, sanitary officers and sanitary supervisors. The civic body manages the situation by assigning additional work to the existing employees.

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Printable version | Nov 28, 2021 2:29:02 PM |

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