Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders joined the pourakarmikas (municipal workers) who are protesting at Freedom Park demanding redressal of their problems.
Speaking to reporters, Karnataka AAP president Prithvi Reddy said, “AAP in Delhi and Punjab has encouraged pourakarmikas to participate in the elections and win them. This has given political strength to the sentiments of pourakarmikas. However, in Karnataka, BJP has turned blind to the problems and pains of pourakarmikas. The BJP government is stubborn by not responding to repeated protests of pourakarmikas.”
The AAP leader said the state government must provide safety shields, retirement facilities, equal pay for equal work, gratuity, maternity allowance and holidays to pourakarmikas.
“Direct job recruitment must be done. Wherever necessary, toilets must be built. If holidays are not provided, additional payment should be made for extra work done. Government must at least now work on fulfilling the demands of pourakarmikas,” Reddy said.
AAP state vice-president Bhaskar Rao said that protesting pourakarmikas have complete support from the party. He demanded that the jobs of pourakarmikas must be made permanent.
“If pourakarmikas refuse to work even for a single day, waste disposal problem will worsen and people will have to close their noses. Sanitation workers, including cleaners and sweepers, are paid a meagre salary. They are unable to meet their basic needs with this salary. So, their jobs must be made permanent,” said Rao.
In 2017, he said the Siddaramaiah government had proposed in the cabinet to regularise pourakarmikas, which was approved but implementation failed. None of the subsequent governments paid any attention to it.
“Under the Special Recruitment Rules 2017, only those who clean roads were treated as pourakarmikas. Sewage cleaning workers, garbage collectors, garbage truck drivers, garbage loaders and helpers are working on a contract basis. Government facilities must be made available to them,” emphasized Bhaskar Rao.
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