Several protests have taken place in Bengaluru over the plight of civic workers, some of who have been denied wages for over six months.

After protests Blurus civic workers finally paid but some yet to receive wagesFile Photo
news Civic issues Monday, July 23, 2018 - 14:59

Eleven days after hundreds of civic workers in Bengaluru staged a protest demanding the payment of wages, the BBMP has released funds and paid some of Bengaluru’s pourakarmikas. 

However, there are still a few pourakarmikas who have been denied wages for over six months. "A fresh round of payments were made after the protest on July 12 but not all pourakarmikas have been paid yet," said Maitreyi, an activist of the Guttige Pourakarmikara Sangha, an organisation that mobilises the civic workers. 

Since pourakarmikas are paid wages in their ward, there is no comprehensive data on the payment of these civic workers. Before January 2018, pourakarmikas were paid by 'mestris' or contractors but now, they are paid by ward-level health inspectors and are monitored by 'supervisors' who take biometric attendance thrice every day. The workers are paid based on their attendance. 

Ramanji Neya, a supervisor from Halasuru, confirmed that the BBMP had released funds to pay 69 pourakarmikas under his rolls. However, he says that five workers have still not received wages for six months while five others have not received wages for five months. "A total of ten workers are still to be paid wages. I felt sad about their plight because, even now they have not been paid. I have decided to take these workers to the health inspector and ensure that their payments are done," says Ramanji. 

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Across the city, several pourakarmikas had received wages, while a few workers had not been paid wages for six months.

 "After the protests, all of us received wages in our ward except one person," confirmed Uma, a pourakarmika from Indiranagar. The same is the case in Ward 148 Ejipura and Ward 57 CV Raman Nagar. "There are several pourakarmikas who have not been paid wages for six months in CV Raman Nagar," says Maitreyi.

The situation had reached a tipping point earlier this month when Subramani, a pourakarmika from Ward 77 Dattatreya Temple, took his life on July 8 citing financial trouble. Subramani had not been paid wages for six months and had been forced to remove his children from school.

Read: Bengaluru civic worker kills self: He was not paid for 6 months

Several protests have been held to highlight the plight of pourakarmikas with the latest one taking place on July 12 outside the BBMP Head Office following Subramani's death.  Bengaluru Mayor R Sampath Raj met the protesters on the day and announced that he had asked the Zonal Joint Commissioners to pay all the salaries immediately. He also requested pourakarmikas to give their details to BBMP officials and assured that salaries will be paid immediately.

Read: No pay for 6 months: Why Bengaluru's civic workers are being denied salaries