Sanitation workers wait for masks, gloves, sanitisers

Sanitation workers wait for masks, gloves, sanitisers

A garbage collector works without mask and gloves in Ludhiana. Photo: Ashwani Dhiman

Harshraj Singh

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 26

Since the Covid-19 pandemic was announced, many sanitation workers were provided a safety kit, including one mask, a pair of gloves, and small bottle of sanitiser only “once”. Despite the repeated demand of workers’ unions, these employees, who are working as frontline warriors, have yet to get MC’s attention in this regard.

When Covid-19 cases are on the surge, employees’ unions have demanded that the MC should make sure that required gear for the safety of thousands of safai karamcharis, sewermen and garbage collectors in the city is readily available. These employees come in contact with various kind of waste, including hazardous material.

A contractual worker said, “I received a safety gear only once, which included reusable mask, pair of gloves, and small bottle of sanitiser. Gloves and mask given by the MC got damaged within a short period. The sanitiser lasted for only a few days as it was used multiple times a day. Now, I am forced to buy these items from my own pocket despite my monthly salary being low. I am a contractual worker of the MC. All employees should be provided safety gear on time for protection.”

An employee of the MC health branch said, “Masks, gloves and sanitisers must be provided to sanitation workers on time. Many employees use washable masks, but they can’t purchase gloves and sanitisers on a routine basis. Garbage collectors pick up waste from various houses unaware of its kind. No information is provided to them about houses of Covid patients.”

Vijay Kumar of the Municipal Karamchari Sayunkt Committee Ludhiana said, “Masks and gloves were given to sanitation workers only once last year. I will write to the MC authorities to provide safety gear to all safai karamcharis, sewermen and other sanitation workers at the earliest.”

Sudhir Kumar of the Municipal Karamchari Dal said, “The MC has not provided new gloves, masks, and sanitisers to sanitation workers. We have raised the demand before the authorities concerned many times, but to no avail.”

Mayor Balkar Singh Sandhu said safety kits, including masks, gloves, and sanitisers would be provided to sanitation workers soon.

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