Vijayawada

Scavengers in 1,521 govt. schools not paid wages for 30 months in Andhra Pradesh

Scavengers raise slogans after being arrested at Machilipatnam.

Scavengers raise slogans after being arrested at Machilipatnam.  

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Red tape forces hundreds of women scavengers to quit; hygiene in the schools takes a hit

Hundreds of scavengers appointed to clean the toilets in government schools in Krishna district have begun quitting their jobs, worsening hygiene in the schools. Reason? They have not been paid their wages — nearly ₹10 crore since April 2017.

It’s classic babudom at work. The blame game by Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) officials and District Rural Development Authority (DRDA) to clear the wages continues, as the helpless women scavengers are left in the lurch and none to speak for them.

In 2015, the Self Help Group (SHG) members were appointed by the DRDA as scavengers with a consolidated monthly wage: ₹2,000 for primary school (total 1,206 schools), ₹2,500 for upper primary school (184 schools) and ₹4,000 for high school (131 schools). The DRDA is the responsible agency to pay the wages of the 1,521 scavengers.

Menial job, measly pay

Tulasi Siddela, a scavenger at Pullapadu government school near Pedana, told The Hindu: “We do the very menial job, taking care of hygienic on the school campus. I have been forced to purchase every material like phenyl and brooms. I have not been paid wages for nearly 30 months amounting to of ₹60,000.” She tends and cleans the toilets in the school twice a day.

The scavengers have also been appointed to 130 high schools, which would automatically witness girl students dropping in the absence of proper hygiene.

Who will clean?

“The district authorities did not pay the attention towards clearing the wages of the scavengers. Imagine who would clean the toilets if they quit. Will the government run the schools by asking students to clean the toilets,” questioned P. Dhanasri, Krishna District President of Sramikha Mahila (CITU Women Wing).

Krishna District SSA Project Director K.D.V.M. Prasad Babu said funds towards scavengers wages up to early 2018 were transferred to the DRDA.

Contrary to this claim, DRDA Project Director M. Srinivasa Rao told The Hindu that bills pertaining to the wages of the scavengers (for the period of April 2017-June 2019) were still pending with the Finance Ministry.

Ms. Tulasi and Ms. Dhanasri allege that the DRDA had reportedly diverted the wages for other government commitments during the tenure of the previous government.

“Early this year, the DRDA authorities have cited Election Code of Conduct to clear our pending bills and now sayting funds are not available,” added Ms. Tulasi.

Mr. Srinivasa Rao parried the question saying he was not aware of the exact statistics and observed: “Those who are willing to continue are attending the schools, and others are quitting.”

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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 7:08:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Vijayawada/scavengers-in-1521-govt-schools-not-paid-wages-for-30-months/article30103709.ece

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