The suicide of a pourakarmika in Bengaluru has brought up the grievous problem plaguing civic workers in the city - the fact receiving their salaries.
For the last six months, hundreds of pourakarmikas in the city have not been paid by the BBMP. This, in spite of the civic body replacing the contractor system previously in place and promising to directly pay salaries to pourakarmikas from January 2018.
Pourakarmikas in the city have led several protests over the non-payment of their salaries and the latest protest took place in front of the BBMP headquarters on June 5.
In response to the plea made by pourakarmikas, a circular was issued by the BBMP on June 5 following the protest, promising to pay all pending salaries by June 8.
"For all pourakarmikas who have been working since Jan 1, steps will be taken to ensure wage payment within the next three days," the circular states.
After the circular was issued, while a few pourakarmikas received partial payments, hundreds in the city remain unpaid.
On Sunday, Subramani, a pourakarmika from Ward 77 - Dattatreya Temple, committed suicide reportedly citing financial troubles. Subramani did not receive his salary for the past six months and was forced to remove his children out of school.
"If they just implemented their own circular, Subramani would have been alive today," says Vinay Sreenivasa, a Bengaluru-based activist, who has helped organise several protests in connection with this issue.
Subramani was not alone in his struggle. Pourakarmikas across the city revealed that they had pawned off their jewellery, sold utensils and in few cases even shifted out of their homes, as they could not afford to pay the rent.
While pourakarmikas have held several protests in the last two years over denial of payment, the situation reached a tipping point last month when hundreds of workers turned up to protest along with their children since they could not afford the school admission fees.
Shobha, a pourakarmika from Indira Nagar, revealed that she was forced to pull her child out of school since they were down to "bare necessities".