Hundreds of sanitation workers staged demonstrations, including dumping the garbage on streets, in different parts of Indore on Monday to protest against the municipal corporation’s move to introduce the biometric attendance system
The protests brought to an abrupt halt the ongoing cleanliness drive in the city and forced the chief minister to cancel a public function, where he was to declare Indore as an open defecation free (ODF) city.
The sanitation workers damaged an IMC vehicle in MIG area, intercepted garbage tippers at different places and scattered filth on roads. “One of the factions of the employees created a ruckus in Patnipura, MIG, Vijay Nagar, Chhaoni and Palasia areas of the city and even damaged the garbage vehicles,” a police officer said.
He said some motorcycle-borne persons misbehaved with workers from rival group that had refused to take part in the protests. Later, workers associated with both the groups created ruckus at Palasia police station demanding registration of criminal cases against each other.
Members of a community that earns a living selling the spoils generated from waste collection too have joined the protest. Known as ‘jagiradars’ in the local parlance, they claim that their livelihood was being snatched with the introduction of door-to-door garbage collection.
The municipal corporation, which is trying to secure better ranking in the upcoming Swachhta Survekshan - 2017, warned of strict action against the protesters.
Municipal commissioner Manish Singh said, “Such kind of hooliganism will not be tolerated. The protesters are only a faction of workers whose vested interests is at stake with implementation of biometric attendance system.”
IMC additional commissioner Devendra Singh said the municipal administration has lodged complaints in Palasia, MIG, Sanyogitaganj and Khajrana police stations against those who damaged the IMC vehicles. “We have introduced biometric attendance in compliance with the central norms under Swachch Bharat Abhiyan. There is no question of withdrawing this decision,” he added.
Biometric attendance was introduced to ensure that all the sanitation workers are out on roads to perform their duties.
The IMC has a total of 6,500 sanitation workers. On an average, 80 workers are employed in each ward. Sources claim that the ward corporators have a say in recruitment of sanitation workers. Similarly, the worker unions too tries to get its members enrolled as sanitation worker. It has been found that many such appointees abstained from work but would get their attendance marked as present by paying bribes. Each sanitation worker is paid Rs 7,000 per month.
The biometric attendance seeks to put an end to this.