Waste pickers still wait for their ID cards in city

BBMP City Top Story

The identity cards issued by BBMP in 2011 had a validity of 10 years and will expire this year.

Bengaluru: The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is yet to issue new ID cards to identified waste pickers in the city.

Several waste pickers in Bangalore continue to work without identity cards, which prevents them from accessing basic benefits such as healthcare, pension, and banking.

Global Alliance of Waste Pickers’ report states that there are around 15,000 to 25,000 waste pickers in and around the city. The BBMP has identified and issued ID cards to only around 8000 to 10,000 waste pickers.

Sameera, a volunteer working with Save the Children said, they were given identity cards in 2011 but following that no support was provided to them in terms of wages, or health facilities. “Their id cards will also be expiring this year and so far, no steps have been taken to start the reissuing process,” she added.

Devika, a 16-year-old from the community said that the cases of child marriages and child labour are very prevalent in the families. More children drop out of school because of a lack of basic water and sanitation facilities.

Banashankari resident Mallikarjun said that most children still pick up waste with their parents. They often have to wait in long queues to collect water, which prevents them from going to school, he explained.

Latifa, a waste picker from Hebbal, doesn’t have an ID card. Her husband said, they live in poor conditions in the city and find it difficult to support three children.

Priyanka Mary Francis, Director, Department of Women and Child Development said, fewer Anganwadis in the city limit the reach to provide help. Even the ones present are not well equipped and need better infrastructure, she added. The government should join hands with the community and NGOs to identify problems and find solutions at the ground level to provide better facilities for them, she said Akshay Soni, Executive Director of the Nudge Institute believes there should be a more holistic approach to tackling these problems than just focusing on a small issue. It is difficult to identify the problems because India is a diverse country, he concluded.