Twenty five thousand pourakarmikas (civic workers) struggle hard to keep Bengaluru city clean every day. These pourakarmikas will now get free mid-day meals, in a newly launched scheme by the government.
The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike Commissioner, Manjunath Prasad, on Tuesday said that the scheme will be implemented for BBMP porakarmikas from November 8.
The government has allotted Rs 10 crore for the project and Akshaya Nidhi, a commercial enterprise affiliated to the Akshaya Patra Foundation, has been allotted the contract at Rs 20 per meal.
The meal will include 350 gm of rice, 250 gm of sambar, 250 gm of butter milk and pickle.
The pourakarmikas, however, are skeptical about the project's implementation. "We had petitioned the government to provide hot meals, three years ago and now they have decided to implement it. We still don't get basic provisions like drinking water and also soap, gloves, masks and uniforms," said Nirmala, general secretary of Pourakarmika Naukara Sangha told The News Minute.
She alleged that though minimum wage for pourakarmikas was increased three months ago, the government has not been consistent in implementing it.
Some workers get Rs 6,691 and others get Rs 7038. The hike in income has not yet been implemented since it was announced. They have now announced the mid-day meal scheme. We have no confidence in the government regarding its implementation," she alleged.
Her concern also stems from the 2012 issue when Akshaya Patra Foundation had discontinued the provision of mid-day meals for senior citizens due to non-payment issues with the government.
Countering the issue, a spokesperson for Akshaya Patra, said, "The issue was resolved and the monetary settlement has been made. The new mid-day meal contract for the pourakarmikas was taken up only after that."