Pourakarmikas work with bare hands

Bangalore BBMP City Health

Pourakarmikas have trouble getting equipment when they need it as the BBMP provides the equipment two to three times in a year.

Pourakarmikas say that they are not getting their uniforms and equipment on time. They say that they have to buy the brooms themselves.

Lakshmi Devi, a pourakarmika who has been working in Russell market for more than five years said, “We are not used to wearing gloves while working. Since each worker has to clean one kilometre in one shift, the broom does not last more than two to three weeks. BBMP gives us the equipment two to three times in a year but the gloves provided by them wear out easily, which makes the brooms and trolleys slip out of our hands.”

Another pourakarmika said, “We buy our own brooms from the salary we get. The cost of one broom is Rs. 50-60.”

Manjunath, Incharge of pourakarmikas at Russell Market said, “We have complained to BBMP several times asking them to provide the brooms and gloves on time, but we haven’t received any response. Pourakarmikas’ savings from the salary is less because most of the salary is spent on buying the equipment.”

He also said, “We are supposed to get our uniforms changed every three months but the pourakarmikas are reusing the same which they got before COVID-19.”

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) guidelines for solid waste management says, the pourakarmikas must get their uniforms and equipment like brooms, gloves, boots and masks changed frequently.

Srinivas, a BBMP official who was on inspection in Russell Market said, “Brooms, gloves, and uniforms are provided on time. The money for buying brooms is added to the salary of the workers.”

Mohammad Javed, Assistant Executive Engineer of BBMP also said that, “The workers are provided with the equipment but twice a year.”

The workers cleaning the market were seen working with bare hands and feet. They did not have masks and gloves. Dr. Vidya T.S, a Dermato-Cosmetologist, said, “Coming in contact with garbage without gloves and masks may lead to skin diseases like contact dermatitis, bacterial and viral fungus as well. They might pass on to their family members as well. They must use gloves while working.”