POOR WORKING condition of civic workers in the state continues to be a cause for concern with a complaint being filed by advocate Sagar Charan, the vice-president of health department grievance committee, before the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and National Commission for Safai Karamcharis that fall under the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
The Commissioner of the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) has been summoned before the commission, the hearing for which is scheduled for June 12. The panel has the right to exercise the power of a civil court.
The complaint highlights the plight of workers, who are allegedly forced to clean manholes, nullahs and drains without safety gear including gloves, gumboots, napkins, soaps, brooms and masks, in violation of the Protection of Manual Scavenging and Rehabilitation Act, 2013.
The complaint also highlights the plight of woman workers who do not have changing rooms and toilets and the unavailability of drinking water at workplaces, mandatory under the law. The complaint also alleges that the civic body has failed to implement recommendations of the Lad-Page committee, appointed by the government for creating legal heirs for sanitation staff.
“Sanitation woman workers have complained that they don’t have facilities for drinking water and changing rooms. The PCMC (Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation) health department Takrar Nivaran Samiti has lodged more than 200 complaints on issues of unavailability of basic facilities at the workplace. More than 250 sanitation workers have also alleged that they have been deprived of free housing scheme of the civic body. There was no reply from the civic body when we approached them and hence we have decided to approach the national commission,” said Charan.
He added that with failure in implementing basic amenities such as promotions, timely salaries and medical facilities, the corporation was violating the Maharashtra Municipal Corporation Act as well.
“More than 700 workers have approached me. I will appeal before the National Human Rights Commission on this ground. I have urged the commission to book officials from drainage and health departments under Section 8 of the Manual Scavengers Act and Section 337 of the Indian Penal Code for endangering life or personal safety of others,” Charan said.