Representational pic
Representational pic

Bhopal: Over 6,500 contractual employees of BMC, who are working as frontline corona warriors, are deprived of protective kits such as masks, sanitisers and gloves. Their employees’ union has threatened to stop their services if the basic protective items and food packets are not supplied to them by the corporation.

These frontline corona warriors are engaged in sweeping the streets, cleaning nullahs, collecting garbage and domestic waste are supplied the protective kits only twice a month and, for the rest, they, themselves, have to pay.

According to union leader Magan Jha, BMC is providing disposable masks, gloves and hand sanitisers to them only once and after that they have to buy from their meagre income. Their colonies are not sanitised frequently as the other areas of Bhopal, he alleged.

The workers live in such colonies as Kabitpura, Sharma Colony, Thakkar Baba Colony, Sanjay Nagar, Vajapyee Nagar, Nehru Colony, Chowki Imambada, Itwara, Bapu Colony and so forth and these places are hardly sanitised, Jha said.

The contractual workers are getting a little more than Rs 7,500 per month as salary and they have to buy gloves, masks and sanitisers from this meagre amount and it is an extra burden on them, the union leader said.

As public transport is shut, most of these employees are now forced to reach their duty stations on foot as they do not have any personal vehicle and they are posted far from their houses.

The supervisors and other officials are provided gloves, masks and sanitisers by the BMC and these workers deprived of these benefits. They have to clean nullahs, collect garbage from roads and door to door waste collection without any protective gear, Jha said. They are at great risk of getting infected with the virus, he added.

Irfan Altaf, drivers’ association leader, said the most of the drivers have to reach their working places in odd hours by foot. The officials should depute a vehicle to pick them and drop at their deputed places for faster and better service, he said.

He also demanded the workers should be provided food packets as they are working for over 12 hours in a day.

There are over 6500 contractual employees, including 1000 drivers and 3500 health staff who are in the frontline as corona warriors, Jha said.

We'll inquire, says BMC

BMC public relations officer Prem Shankar Shukla says they provide the gloves and other required kits to the workers through their store. 'If there is any complaint that the employees are not receiving benefits, we will inquire it,' says Shukla

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