3,300-odd excess workers includes ghost workers: BBMP

Civic body to launch on-ground verification

Updated - July 14, 2018 07:11 am IST

Published - July 13, 2018 10:22 pm IST

 A pourakarmika registering the daily biometric attendance in Nagapura ward.

A pourakarmika registering the daily biometric attendance in Nagapura ward.

The BBMP council on Thursday had resolved not to let go of any of the 3,300-odd pourakarmikas who started working less than a year ago, and agreed pay their pending salaries. However, Solid Waste Management (SWM) officials and pourakarmika unions now claim that the list includes several ghost workers, including those employed by contractors in autos and compactors as well as several people who are not pourakarmikas. They enrolled themselves during the biometric registration in the hope of finding permanent employment.

Sarfaraz Khan, Joint Commissioner, SWM, BBMP, said that the civic body will soon launch an on-ground verification of the list to weed such people out.

BBMP officials said their investigations had revealed that mestris — supervisors who oversaw the work of pourakarmikas under contractors — had taken money ranging from ₹30,000 to ₹50,000 to get many non-pourakarmikas added during biometric registration, essentially sabotaging the initiative that was pitched as a screening mechanism.

“We have begun a probe at the ward level and will get FIRs booked against all mestris who have cheated gullible people,” said Mr. Khan.

S. Subramani, the pourakarmika who allegedly committed suicide over non-payment of wages, for instance had specialised in mosquito control for 15 years, and registered as a pourakarmika in January 2018. “We don’t know how he came to be on the rolls,” said Mayor R. Sampath Raj.

BBMP Guttige Pourakarmikara Sangha has already lodged several complaints with the civic body, and named ghost workers at the ward level, though no follow-up action has been taken to date.

“Contractors, mestris and even councillors have added many non-pourakarmikas on the rolls. Some are directly related to them,” alleged Clifton D'Rozario of the Sangha.

Mr. Khan admitted that the BBMP has information of auto drivers and cleaners who, despite working on compactors and paid separately by contractors, have enrolled themselves as pourakarmikas. “This will again lead to double billing. Contractors draw salaries for them from civic officials and have also got them added to the pourakarmika rolls where also they will be paid. Contractors will make a windfall at the cost of the BBMP,” he said.

Mayor R. Sampath Raj on Thursday asked several zonal joint commissioners as to how these workers got registered under the biometric system when the criteria was proof of two years work. But he got no answers and all joint commissioners are expected to be issued show-cause notices over the issue.

Genuine workers at a loss

Not all the 3,300-odd workers are ghost workers. The BBMP Guttige Pourakarmikara Sangha said that the list includes a subset of workers who have actually worked for many years but are now deemed to have worked for less than a year for want of PF and ESI documents, which were botched up by contractors.

“We want their interests to be protected, and demand that all ghost workers be weeded out,” said Clifton D'Rozario. Sarfaraz Khan concurred and said that a small group of genuine workers have been given a short shrift.

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