Chennai: “I don’t know if I will have a job on January 1. For the first time in my life, I'm scared for the new year," says Ramesh, a contract sanitation worker fearing privatisation of waste management in the city.
Months ago, three zones out of 15 in the city- Teynampet, Kodambakkam and Adyar - were handed out to a private company for waste management. However, the tender has been held back after workers began complaining of delayed payments and withholding of salaries.
Government workers have a sense of permanency. Private companies may wash their hands off at any moment, leaving the Corporation red-faced, says Sukumar, convener, CITU. The private companies will harass employees who will not be able to work, say, experts.
“If the tender has been made for 100 employees, they will appoint only 50 and overwork them. Even the number of machines will not be enough,” says Sukukumar. "Where is the job security for contract workers? We were given no assurances about the continuation of our jobs. The circular from the corporation said that we would be hired only if there is a requirement," he said, adding that there will not be a sense of responsibility. The private company which was hired by the city corporation too didn't do well, sources say. "It is difficult to keep track of the workers and when there is no supervisor, they will surely slack," said a corporation worker. The Chennai Corporation, however, denied all association with any private company. "These are all rumours. There is no tender itself. Neither is there any due date. We aren't talking to any private companies at the moment," said an official from the City Corporation.
Meanwhile, Chennai, the city which generates the largest amount of per capita garbage, according to reports, requires more action. "The citizens need to understand the sheer amount of garbage they generate and make conscious efforts to reduce it," says the corporation worker....