Andhra Pradesh

Sanitation worker bats for total lockdown in Chittoor

Balakrishna ensures hygiene in his colony while juggling jobs

Despite facing several problems on the domestic and work front, R. Balakrishna aka Bala (28), an outsourced sanitation worker of Puttur municipality in Chittoor district, takes pride in working for the success of the COVID-19 lockdown, in addition to his regular work.

Mr. Balakrishna collects garbage door-to-from over 300 houses in Aretamma Colony of Puttur. Though he did his Intermediate, poverty forced him to join as an outsourced civic worker seven years ago. Waste collection, which started as a job, gradually turned into a habit. “When I embark on work each day, I feel that I form the first ring of protection for the people of my colony,” he said.

When viral fevers like dengue and typhoid gripped the western mandals in recent years, Mr. Bala was known for his concerted efforts to keep the colony clean. He was largely successful in making women to keep the waste basket on their compound walls before going to bed.

A couple of weeks ago, a family that returned from abroad arrived into the colony and was quarantined. Seeing them moving freely, Mr. Bala kept educating them to follow the norms of quarantine. He even urges people to avoid sending their children to play in the streets.

Mr. Bala say the sudden lockdown due to COVID-19 had depressed him. “But, I strongly support this. When this pandemic will die, the people would realise the importance and meaning of the lockdown. It will give them a strong sense of discipline, particularly to children,” he said.

The Puttur municipality is facing acute shortage of sanitary workers, with about 20% of them on leave on any given day. “My wife is going to give birth to a child next month. I earn ₹400 a day. In order to support my family, I hardly take leave,” he says.

Vijayalakshmi (70), a resident of the colony, said that during lockdown there is a possibility of garbage piling up and waste produced would also double due to increase in cooking. “A worker like Bala is an asset to our colony. We always stay assured that our area is free from all illnesses due to mosquitoes. At this critical time of lockdown, his urge to see people strictly inside homes is laudable,” she said.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 8:58:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/sanitation-worker-bats-for-total-lockdown-in-chittoor/article31167609.ece

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