Two back to back suicides by two Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) employees on consecutive days, allegedly due to work pressure, have rattled their colleagues, bringing the focus on overworked sanitation workers in the city.
Sunil Rewal and Vijay Nakhwal who committed suicide were working in the sanitation department of the IMC . While Rewal was a chief sanitation inspector, drew a salary of more than Rs 26,000 every month, Nakhwal was a sanitation worker on the muster rolls and used to be paid Rs 5,648 for working 26 days every month.
Rewal in his suicide note wrote: “…the burden of work has increased… and some people in the corporation are exerting immense pressure”. He, however, did not name anyone in his suicide note.
The city has grown in size and population since 2014, adding new neighbourhoods in the municipal limits that have doubled the size of the city, but the number of employees in the corporation has not been increased in the same ratio, leading to excessive burden on its employees.
Only one sanitation worker for every 555 residents
There are over 5,400 sanitation workers in the city serving a population of approximately three million or one sanitation worker for every 555 residents.
Mahesh Gohar, convener of the Corporation’s employee union said, “The conditions under which sanitation workers are working is appalling, and employees are not getting salaries regularly.”
‘550 muster employees not paid salaries for last three months’
More than 550 non-permanent muster employees have not been paid salaries for the last three months, he said.
“An inspector is promoted to a chief inspector just to burden him with additional responsibilities, but salaries are stagnant, which is worrying for both – the one who is promoted and to those who are not.”
If the situation continues, more people will be compelled to end their lives, he warned.
City mayor Malini Gaud, however, rubbished the allegation, saying the Corporation has been regularly paying salaries to employees.