‘5-10% bogus entries of pourakarmikas’

August 27, 2017 12:00 am | Updated 04:12 am IST - Cinthya Anand

Findings of BBMP’s initial audit based on information provided by contractors

Changes ahead:The audit was carried out as contractors are being phased out and the BBMP will take over direct payment of wages of pourakarmikas.Sudhakara JainSudhakara Jain

Changes ahead:The audit was carried out as contractors are being phased out and the BBMP will take over direct payment of wages of pourakarmikas.Sudhakara JainSudhakara Jain

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), which recently carried out an audit of pourakarmikas on its rolls, appears to have miscounted the numbers of employees in its first attempt to weed out fake profiles.

A few months ago, based on information provided by contractors, BBMP had uploaded ward-wise lists of pourakarmikas. The number of pourakarmikas added up to around 32,000.

However, Joint Commissioner (SWM) Sarfaraz Khan said that of the 32,000, only around 15,000 actually worked as pourakarmikas. The rest of the names, submitted by contractors, included around 11,000 autorickshaw drivers and helpers, 1,000 supervisors and around 500 compactor drivers. This still leaves close to 5,000 names unaccounted for. “Between 5% and 10% of the entries are bogus,” said Mr. Khan.

The BBMP has been paying contractors based on these lists. Now that the State government has ordered municipal bodies to pay pourakarmikas directly and defined pourakarmikas as those engaged in sweeping the streets, the BBMP has its work cut out.

This exercise was carried out as contractors are being phased out and the civic body will take over direct payment of pourakarmikas’ wages. However, after complaints from many quarters that some employees were not included in the audit, the BBMP has decided to undertake a second audit. “The number of people actually working keeps fluctuating. There are cases where people who worked for six years disappear and rejoin after a couple of months,” said Mr. Khan.

The BBMP plans to invite tenders from automotive companies for garbage vehicles and entrust the task of maintenance and hiring employees to run the vehicles to the companies, cutting out contractors from the process. It is also putting in place a biometric attendance system to weed out irregularities in payment.

Maitreyee Krishnan, executive member, BBMP Guttige Pourakarmika Sangha, said that removing helpers and autorickshaw drivers from the ambit of direct payment goes against the accepted definition of pourakarmikas. “Technically, a pourakarmika is a municipal worker, not just a person who sweeps the streets,” she said.

Not paid for June, July

As the BBMP figures out the modalities of taking contractors out of the system, many pourakarmikas are waiting for their wages. According to the BBMP Guttige Pourakarmika Sangha, payments have not been made for June and July. The Hindu had earlier reported that up to 4,000 pourakarmikas had not received wages for the last four months, including those working in R.R. Nagar, Kengeri, Shivajinagar, R.T. Nagar and Mahadevapura.

“The BBMP has not given the date when payments will come in. Contractors say ‘you asked for direct payment, now get it from the BBMP’. It’s the workers who are suffering,” said Maitreyee Krishnan, an executive member of the sangha.

BBMP Executive Engineer (Solid Waste Management) Hemalatha K. said that payments for July would be sent from the BBMP within a week, but added that until they are phased out, the onus is on the contractors to pay wages even if there is a delay from BBMP. “Payment from BBMP can get delayed as it has to go through several processes. The contractors should pay the workers without waiting for remittance from the BBMP,” said Ms. Hemalatha.

Numbers don’t add up

  • No. of pourakarmikas listed on rolls: 32,000

  • No. of pourakarmikas as per first audit by BBMP: 15,000 (approximate figure)

  • No. of garbage vehicle drivers and helpers: 11,000

  • Supervisors: 1,000

  • Compactor drivers: 500

  • No. of workers unaccounted for: 5,000

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