With residents of Mittaganahalli and Kannur villages in the outskirts of Bengalurucontinuing to block garbage-laden trucks from entering the quarries and nearly 6,000 pourakarmikas (civic workers) striking work from Monday, the city may be heading for a garbage management crisis.
On Monday, contract pourakarmikas struck work in several parts of the city, including central Bengaluru, Malleshwaram, Peenya, Jayanagar, Koramangala, Cox Town and Mahadevapura, according to S. Balan, president of the BBMP Contract Pourakarmika Association.
The workers said they would continue their strike until their services were regularised, a promise made by the Siddaramaiah government in May 2016. “We want the word ‘contract’ to be removed from our job titles,” said Ms Jayamma, who has been cleaning the streets in Sadashivanagar for 17 years. Her payment has been held up for two months by the contractor who says the BBMP has not cleared bills.
Uma Ravi, a contract pourakarmika working in Vidhana Soudha area, said: “We are striking work so that the government delivers on its promises. I have not got my wages for two months ... there are many who have not been paid for months.”
Mr. Balan alleged that in the city’s outskirts such as Mahadevapura and Hennur, pourakarmikas were being treated like bonded labourers. “Many contractors own lands here and bring in workers from places like Raichur and Kalaburagi. They give them temporary shelter on their lands. They are treated like bonded labour and their passbooks and ATMs confiscated,” said Mr. Balan.
Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike Commissioner Manjunath Prasad said the BBMP was in talks with the pourakarmika union. Garbage segregation would not be affected, he said.
Residents of Kannur village, who have been stopping garbage laden trucks from entering Bellahalli and Mittiganahalli quarries since last Wednesday, continued their protest for the sixth day. “We blocked trucks and forced them to turn back for five days in a row. But on Monday no trucks came our way,” said Nanjegowda, a former Taluk Panchayat president.
Until last week, around 250 to 300 trucks dumped waste in both the quarries every day, which are now being diverted to other quarries.