BBMP draft rules make no difference, pourakarmikas still work on contract


Salary depends on seniority; males earn more

Though the Karnataka government has issued draft rules to make pourakarmikas its permanent employees, they continue to work under a contract system. 

Prameela G, who works on Commercial Street, informed The Observer: “We come here at 6 in the morning and work till 2.30 in the afternoon. We are contract… employees, but do not have any leave like other government employees. I have been working for the BBMP for the past 22 years. I don’t know why they haven’t made me a permanent employee yet. I don’t know where to complain. The supervisors say it will happen. I haven’t got any updates.”

The pourakarmikas work without the provision of paid or sick leave. They are marked absent from work if they punch in a minute later than 6.45. They say they put up with having to work without any leave because they are paid on time. 

The people who work to keep the city clean work in an unhealthy work environment.

As per the draft rules, anyone in the 18- 55 age group who is fluent in Kannada and has a medical fitness report is eligible to be a pourakarmika.

The prescribed pay for pourakarmikas is Rs 17,000. This could differ on the basis of seniority. While the female pourakarmikas work for Rs 13,000 per month, the male pourakarmikas get paid more. 

S. Kondaiah, a pourakarmika with 22 years of service, is paid Rs 14,000. 

There is a pay disparity between men and women though they do the same work six days a week.

Premkumar N, a supervisor of pourakarmikas in and around M.G. Road, said: “There are 26 working here. All are contract employees. Age and seniority are the criteria to make them permanent. Most of them are close to the age of 50. If the BBMP hires them, they will retire soon…, which makes it difficult to go through the official proceedings.”

Asked for updates on the draft rules, a BBMP official who refused to share his identity said all details are updated regularly on the corporation’s website. “There is nothing more we have to say about this now,” he said.

In July 2022, pourakarmikas protested to get permanent employee status.  The draft rules were framed after the protest. 

According to the data put up on the BBMP website, there are 18,500 pourakarmikas who work for the corporation. While these are contract employees, BBMP has issued applications to recruit 4,000 more pourakarmikas.

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