Staff crunch in Secunderabad Cantonment Board affects sanitation & COVID-19 efforts

Several residents complain that regular sanitation works are not being done, but sanitation workers are already overburdened.
Staff crunch in Secunderabad Cantonment Board affects sanitation & COVID-19 efforts
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Secunderabad Cantonment Board (SCB) with about 40 square kilometer area under its control is struggling to balance between COVID-19 works and the regular sanitation measures demanded by the residents. The lack of required sanitation staff has become a challenge, though the authorities say they are somehow managing during the pandemic.

With the advent of the monsoon season, mosquito menace has started in several colonies of Secunderabad Cantonment area but no fogging has been done so far, say the residents. 

“Its been three months now, no fogging has been done in the place we stay, Vasavi colony. Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) is better than our SCB area, they are at least taking up fogging in every other colony,” said Doctor TS Ahuja, a resident of  Vasavi colony.


Apart from the fogging, residents of the same colony say that their regular long pending issues are also not being resolved. 

“We have potholes in our colony main roads, there are several instances where the residents met with accidents because of these potholes. And now in this rainy season, water is getting stagnated in them. It’s a long pending issue and we request authorities to take action immediately,” demanded Telukunta Sathish Gupta, a social activist.

Overburdened sanitation staff

Another resident and social activist, Sanki Ravinder said, "In the Mahendrahills area, there are about 20 colonies and about 10 slum areas in this area. There are just 25 to 30 sanitation workers on the rolls to clean these areas. These are the same people who arrange barricades for the coronavirus patients, clear the clogged drainages, spray the colonies, they also lift the garbage. How much can they even do? “

He further adds that all these workers are overburdened and that though roads are cleaned frequently, when it comes to the inner lanes of the colony, the sanitation work is not happening properly. This is the same case with almost several areas under SCB.

Lack of sanitation staff

The contract sanitation workers say they are understaffed and for a big area like the Cantonment, there should be more than 1000 sanitation workers doing varios duties. However, there are now only around 600 working in various units on contract basis.  

Speaking to the News Minute, M Narasimha Reddy, SCB contract workers Union president said, “It’s a huge area and the current number of sanitation workers are not enough. Earlier, though there were 300 to 400 regular sanitation staff, most of them have retired, so the burden falls mostly on the contract workers.”

No safety kits

It was further alleged that sanitation workers are not being provided with safety kits. “We rarely get safety kits, since the pandemic began we got the kits like once or twice and it had masks and sanitizer. How are we supposed to survive without those items all these months? Those working in containment zones were also not being given PPE kits on a regular basis,” added Narasimha.

Authorities respond

When these issues were taken to the notice of the newly appointed SCB CEO Ajith Reddy, the official said that he would look into all the issues and sort it out as soon as possible. Regarding sanitation complaints,residents can bring the issues to their notice by sending an email to CEO also said that fogging would be soon done in the colonies.

Meanwhile, regarding the lack of staff, Health and sanitation superintendent Devender claimed they would recruit more staff soon to meet the requirement. “We were also busy with COVID-19 related sanitation works, so could not focus on the colony issues. We would take it up with them as well.”

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