SINCE THE formation of Municipal Corporation three years ago, the demand of sanitation workers for proper safety gear, including masks and shoes, has not been met. As a result, they continue to be exposed to health hazards while performing their work.
“We were given uniforms in 2010 before the civic body was upgraded to a Municipal Corporation. It has been six years and we have not been given anything since then. No gloves, no boots and no masks, leave aside the safety outfit,” said Satpal, a member of the Sanitation Workers’ Union, Panchkula.
With no uniforms and gloves, the workers have been collecting garbage, cleaning the sewer lines and falling sick many times, as they work under unhygienic conditions. The last medical check-up was held in 2014 when their fitness certificates were prepared. “If we fall sick, we have to get our treatment done ourselves,” added Satpal.
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“Proper full-sleeve uniforms are a basic necessity for these workers, and we (councillors) have been raising the issue in all the House meetings, but somehow, nothing has been done. Their health is at stake,” said Bhawna, a councillor from ward no. 10.
The proposal for providing full-sleeve uniforms, gum boots and gloves was tabled in the first House meeting after the corporation was formed in 2013, but nothing has happened ever since.
However, Mayor Upinder Kaur Ahluwalia insists that the corporation has sent the proposal to the Haryana government for approval. “The issue has been discussed several times. We need to put in place a proper system on how these dresses and boots will be distributed.”
According to sources, the civic body has not been able to reach a conclusion on how the safety gear will be distributed to the workers — whether it will be through a contractual agency which will supply the safety wear or through MC. Also under discussion is an option to provide funds for workers to purchase the safety gear themselves.
“We are working on the proposal and certain modalities need to be worked out, after which we will provide the necessary safety wear,” said executive officer Manender Singh.