The Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat (KKPKP) on Tuesday organised a programme to recognise the efforts and achievements of the children of Pune-based sanitation workers who recently graduated from Class X, Class XII, diploma courses and college this year.
The programme, ‘Jyoti Savitri Chi Lek’, was held at Nehru Memorial Hall and saw the attendance of 600 waste collectors who are also members of KKPKP.
As many as 214 students were felicitated, of whom 117 were girls and 97 were boys. Many are first-generation learners and graduates in their respective families, battling severe resource limitations such as decrepit homes, lack of regular electricity, water supply and access to technology, said sources.
Students spoke about their journeys and conveyed gratitude to their parents for their encouragement. Shweta Pandit, who cleared her Class X exams, said, “It is because of my mother that I can stand in front of all of you today. It is my dream to work in a big IT firm one day and I will study and work hard till I achieve it.”
Madhuri Chavan and Priyanka Dhaikamble scored over 80 per cent in the Class X and Class XII exams respectively, while 27 students scored distinction and 42 others got more than 60 per cent.
Pune Municipal Commissioner Saurabh Rao was the chief guest at the programme, which was also attended by Dr Baba Adhav, a senior labour leader and long-time advisor of the union, among others.
Rao spoke about the convergence of educational and skill development schemes for waste collectors’ children. “It is essential that a special curriculum is introduced to implement all these schemes in convergence effectively,” he said.
Rao also promised annual health check-ups for all waste collectors. “Work conditions of many of these workers are acute and hence regular check-ups become important,” he said. “There are 57 empanelled hospitals in the city and several healthcare schemes are being implemented. But the responsibility and accountability of whether these schemes are reaching waste collectors will be taken up by the PMC.”
Sadaf Inamdar also contributed to this story