Citing the consistent service of waste-pickers through door-to-door waste collection in the city, the Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat, an organisation of waste-pickers, has requested the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) to accept the demand of waste-pickers to grant them a life insurance cover of Rs lakh and increase service charges for six months to compensate for their losses during the lockdown period.
“The waste-pickers have simple demands and they should be met with, considering their service to the city, especially while providing consistent and quality door-step waste collection to citizens during the time of crises and pandemic,” said a statement by the Panchayat.
“The waste-pickers’ income has been coming from user fees from properties and selling the scrap collected at recycling units, along with some contribution from the civic body. However, the lockdown led to a drop in user fees, with commercial properties remaining closed, and also the inability to sell scrap due to recycling companies remaining closed… the PMC should compensate waste pickers with Rs 10 per property for a period of three months during the lockdown for the loss of income from user fees, due to shutdown of commercial entities and closure of scrap and recycling companies,” it stated
Throughout the lockdown and pandemic, waste-pickers have provided service to the city residents despite their own vulnerability. Over 95 per cent of them worked without breaks despite issues like lack of transport and classification of certain areas into containment zones, stated the panchayat.
It pointed out that health workers, doctors, police and PMC staff are covered under life insurance through various government schemes. Waste-pickers also want insurance cover, considering their essential role in keeping the city clean and hygienic.
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