While the State government and the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike have assured pourakarmikas that their wages will be remitted directly to their bank accounts, the modalities are still to be finalised.
With this move, for the first time in 17 years, the civic body will take over the whole gamut of solid waste management (SWM) in the city: sweeping, collection, transportation, and disposal of garbage.
This overhaul of the existing system will take at least two to three months as the BBMP has to procure pick-up vehicles now being provided by contractors. Sarfaraz Khan, Joint Commissioner, Solid Waste Management, said the role fulfilled by contractors — who supply the garbage-collection vehicles in the city — would now be taken over by the BBMP. The civic body had been outsourcing collection and transportation of garbage to private contractors from the day the system was introduced in 2000.
Presently, contractors provide vehicles — 400 compactors and 8,000 autorickshwas in all — for garbage collection and disposal, along with acting as labour contractors for pourakarmikas.
Clifton D’Rozario, president of the BBMP Guttige Powrakarmikara Sangha, said the BBMP had already decided to invest in vehicles to provide them to the Pourakarmika Co-operative Societies that they intended to form.
The role of contractors in this new set-up will also have to be addressed. Mr. Khan added that following the government’s policy decision, the role of contractors would be eliminated. “Today, we own 75 compactors, where 400 are needed. We have issued tenders to buy 100 portable compactors of 12 tonne capacity each, which we will get by another two months. We are also buying 600 autos to drop waste at dry waste collection centres,” he said.
The move will also save the BBMP which often pays inflated bills to contractors. According to C.P. Appanna, State secretary of the All India Central Council of Trade Unions, sometimes when there were just 50 to 100 workers in a ward, contractors claimed at least 250 to 300 were working. When the BBMP published on its website a list of pourakarmikas working in each ward, a quick perusal revealed that several names had been duplicated.
Pourakarmikas are celebrating this decision.
“Officials have promised us benefits but have failed to answer when they will be delivered. But right now, we are happy,” said a pourakarmika as he left the protest venue.