Benagaluru: The indefinite strike called by thousands of contract pourakarmikas, which was feared to bring the garbage menace back to Bengaluru, ended on Tuesday. The protest was called off after the state government assured the protesters that the services of over 45,000 pourakarmikas would be regularised after a meeting with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on June 20. The strike was two days old and already, garbage was piling up on the streets.
Mr C. Narayan, state president, Karnataka Rajya Nagarapalike, Nagarasabhe, Purasabegala Pourakarmikara Mahasangha, said, “We called off the protest after Social Welfare Minister H. Anjaneya and Minister of State for Municipalities and Local Bodies Eshwara Bhimanna Khandre assured us that direct payments will be made to the accounts of the pourakarmikas and they will be regularised.”
He said that the contract workers had not been paid for the last three months. “They don’t have medical benefits like full-time workers. There have been instances of these workers dying because of lack of medical aid,” he said.
Mayor G. Padmavathi said that salaries were delayed due to lack of adequate funds. “We do not have separate reserve funds to pay pourakarmikas. We had put a condition before the contractors that even if we do not pay them for three months, they must have the capacity to manage,” she said.
Around 6,000 contract workers of BBMP were on indefinite strike since Monday demanding regularisation. They had also insisted on direct transfer of salary to their bank accounts instead of authorizing garbage contractors to disburse their salary.