‘Sanitation workers at higher risk’

ST CORRESPONDENT
Thursday, 19 March 2020

Dilip Mohite said, “The workers have been working relentlessly and contributing to the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan thus comprising their health and dignity.”

PUNE: When COVID-19 scared the whole city, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) seems careless in providing basic amenities like soap to wash hands, footwear, gloves, aprons, to over 6,500 contractual sanitation workers, alleged Maharashtra Kamgar Manch (MKM), the union of skilled and unskilled contractual employees working in PMC.

In a letter written to the PMC Commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad, (dated March 16) mentioned that “though the municipal corporation has taken every preventive step to stop the spread of disease in the city, why did they ignore our basic needs?” MKM President Dilip Mohite said, “The workers have been working relentlessly and contributing to the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan thus comprising their health and dignity.”

There have been 15 ward offices in the city with around 25 to 30 contractors and at least 6,500 contractual workers work under them, some of them are drivers at garbage van, while most workers do the sanitation work.

Contractual sanitation worker Amol Devkule said, “I worked in Vishrambaug ward office area and collect all dry and wet waste but for the last two years we have not been provided with any basic amenities such as hand gloves, masks. Therefore in many cases, we used our handkerchief.”

In a current situation, when citizens have been taking preventive measure due to outbreak of coronavirus, PMC should also consider our demands,” said Devkule.

However, Head of PMC Solid Waste Management Department Dnyaneshwar Molak said, “We follow labour law strictly and accordingly, we appointed contractors in each ward office areas thereafter it was their responsibility to provide basic amenities to their workers.”

General Secretary of PMC Kamgar Union Mukta Manohar said, “Though contractors have to provide basic amenities to their workers at the same time PMC should monitor whether basic equipment have been provided to them or not.”

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