It’s a real life story of a bit of hard work coupled with loads of self-determination.
Fourteen years ago, Thane Municipal Corporation’s (TMC) conservancy worker Sandeep Suhas Sawant (35) began clearing solid waste with the hope that he could fund his studies eventually.
Last year, Sawant completed his Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. Armed with the same, he aspired to become a class I officer and applied for a ward officer’s post with the civic corporation itself.
However, little did he know that it would be difficult to wriggle out of the role he had already been slotted into — that of a conservancy worker.
“Overnight, my world turned topsy-turvy,” says Sawant. “My seat in the office was removed and the muster would do the disappearing act when I would go to sign it… In fact, I missed a month’s salary due to this.”
Following a petition filed by Sawant, the high court on Monday stayed recruitment to the post of ward officer.
In 1994, he joined the TMC after completing his first year in junior college. For the first year in service he worked on garbage dumpers, removing domestic solid waste from Wagle Estate in Thane.
A year later, the corporation offered him a clerical post while even as he was paid daily wages, retained on the post of conservancy worker.
“I had taken up a job to complete my studies without being a burden on my parents,” says Sawant who lives in a chawl-like structure in Kalwa.
Balancing a 10 to 5 schedule attending evening classes at the Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University where he was studying for a commerce degree was no mean feat. He completed his graduation in 2005 with over 50 per cent marks, before enrolling for an MBA.
Sawant said it was his dogged pursuit that helped him juggle clerical work while being paid the salary of a ‘conservancy worker’. For now, he pins his hope on the court, hoping to achieve his dreams.