The wait for pourakarmikas to be paid directly by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), instead of contractors, has only gotten longer. The civic body, which was supposed to disburse the salaries of pourakarmikas from January 1, 2018, will now start doing so only on February 1, 2018.
This is not the first time the process has been postponed. Direct payment was supposed to have started by October 1, 2017, and this is the fourth time the dates have been pushed by the BBMP.
“The contractor lobby still has a stranglehold and has been postponing direct payment to pourakarmikas for four months now. The BBMP has also been making excuses and delaying the implementation as it continues to pay the contractors,” said Maitreyi Krishnan of the BBMP Guttige Pourakarmikara Sangha.
Unions also allege that biometric registration is not foolproof and the rolls include many who are not working. “There are many wards where those who do not work on the street have, through the influence of contractors, got registered on the rolls. Pourakarmikas have lodged several such complaints with the BBMP,” Ms. Krishnan said.
Sarfaraz Khan, Joint Commissioner, Solid Waste Management, BBMP, agreed that the list was not foolproof. “It has come to our notice that there are those who are not working on the ground but are on the rolls. We are trying to weed them out,” he said, and added that BBMP ward officials were scrutinising ESI and PF account details of all pourakarmikas for the last three years to check their genuinness. Mr. Khan also said cleaning up the rolls was a continuous process and the BBMP would take into account biometric attendance from January 1, 2018 for direct payment.
With the State government limiting the total pourakarmika workforce to just over 17,000, the delay in cleaning up the rolls has also led to fears of genuine workers being removed. A BBMP circular in this regard says that FIRs would be booked against the local ward officials and benami pourakarmikas if those not working on the ground are found on the rolls or if the rolls have more than the prescribed 1:700 ratio of pourakarmika to population.