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Friday, January 22, 2021

BMC’s special grant removal leaves staff unhappy

An additional daily allowance of Rs 300 which was given to its frontline workers during lockdown has been discontinued as services resumed.

Written by Laxman Singh | Mumbai | January 1, 2021 10:19:29 pm
BMC, Atal tinkering labsIn 2017-18, the BMC had set up its first tinkering lab in Colaba Municipal School and in 2018-19, they set up three more labs in Gundavali MPS School, Pali Chimbai Municipal School and Govandi Station Municipal School. (file)

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has discontinued an additional daily allowance of Rs 300 which was given to its frontline workers during lockdown triggered by the pandemic’s outbreak in March last year. The civic body has said that the decision was taken considering the present-day relaxations that have led to improvement in transportation and food services.

On December 29, the BMC’s General Administration Department (GAD) issued a circular, informing all departments about the special allowance’s discontinuation. The circular states that since June 15 train services resumed gradually, and on October 5, hotels and restaurants were allowed to open. “Following these developments, the problem of transportation and food has been resolved. Therefore, the daily allowance of Rs 300 given to all civic body employees will not be continued after December 31, 2020,” reads the circular.

Following the pandemic’s outbreak, Maharashtra imposed lockdown in March. However, all workers belonging to essential services had been attending offices regularly despite the absence of trains and other such facilities. These staff used to commute via special buses, run by BEST and the Maharashtra State Transport (MSRTC), between the Mumbai Metropolitan Regions (MMR) areas like Virar, Badlapur, Kalyan and Panvel to Mumbai.

To cater to these workers, the BMC had decided to offer a daily special grant of Rs 300 to their staff to boost their morale and help them deal with issues concerning food and transportation. About 1 lakh BMC workers were covered under the facility since March 25.

The municipal workers’ union has opposed the recent move and demanded the allowance to be continued till March this year. The Mumbai Mahanagarpalika Karyaleen Karmchari Sanghatana (MMKS) has written to BMC commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal, seeking the circular’s withdrawal. The union has said that this would be unfair to the workers as they still have to face a lot of hassles owing to the pandemic. “A few months ago in a meeting with the union, the BMC said the allowance will continue till March, but now they have issued a circular to discontinue it. The pandemic is still far from over and the administration should continue the grant till March at least,” said MMKS General Secretary Prakash Devdas.

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