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Not paid for 8 months, waste pickers plan strike

Anuradha Sriram

Troubled waste pickers at Janagar centre.

BBMPgives noclear reply

Not paid their salaries for eight months, Bengaluru’swaste pickers will strike work on October 15.They will hold a protest outside the BBMP head office for the release of payments due to them.
S. Ismail, a dry-waste picker, informed The Observer that he has worked without his salary for eight months. “It has been a tough time for me and my family. I have taken loans from a bank and now am not in a position to repay them.”
Similar is the story of several such waste pickers. Kumuda,a scrap dealer, said she took a loan of Rs 1 lakh from a bank to meet her expenses. She is waiting for her salary so that she can repay it. “I get suicidal thoughts when I see my children hungry and am not able to provide them food.”
Vinay Swaminathan, executive engineer, solid waste management, BBMP, said: “These workers recently joined work in the hope that they will be taken on the rolls. So we have not paid them salaries.”
Mansoor Ahmed, who worked as a scrap dealer and waste picker in Hasiru Dala and was a part of Clean City Recyclers’ Association, now has his own waste-segregation centre at Jayanagar. Around 10 waste segregators workunder him.
The BBMP has not paid the rag pickers despite numerous requests to officials. “The BBMP doesn’t respond properly.  They give no concrete answers when asked why our salaries have not been paid,” he said.
Hasiru Dal is a nonprofit organization which creates a livelihood for waste pickers through other businesses. It represents thousands of waste pickers, itinerant buyers and scrap dealers. It is also focuses on social justice for waste pickers.
M Sandhya, medical health officer at BBMP, said:“Approvals from the government are pending, and that is why salaries have not been released.”
anuradha.s@iijnm.org