Garbage collectors decided to hold a protest against the PMC, after the civic body hesitated to sign a formal long-term agreement with SWaCH. The PMC once again only granted a one-month extension to waste pickers and offered a contract system for waste collection.
“Waste pickers, who are members of SWaCH, are organizing protests because the PMC has offered to contract their livelihoods after false promises to protect their rights,” a statement from SWaCH read.
The statement also says that temporary extensions of the SWaCH agreement amid ongoing discussions over the contract system indicate PMC’s apathetic attitude towards the contribution of 3,500 waste pickers over the past 14 years. “Garbage collectors protest PMC hypocrisy by wearing black bracelets to work from tomorrow (May 25). Once the Covid restrictions are relaxed, they will escalate their protest in a manner constitutional and appropriate to Covid until their voices are heard and the issues are resolved, ”the statement read.
“If the support of over 30 lakh citizens and 115 companies does not underscore the success of our work, then we do not understand exactly what PMC expects from Pune waste management,” said Vidya Naiknaware, a waste collector. Dhankawadi. .
According to the SWaCH statement, civic body waste management has been maintained by the “sweat and labor” of SWaCH waste pickers for the past 14 years. They had built the only progressive primary collection system in the city’s solid waste management, and instead of committing to it, looking for expensive, contractual, low-liability options would disrupt the entire waste management process. from Pune.
“Discussions to contract our means of subsistence have gained significant momentum, but we still have not obtained the incentive compensation promised during the first wave of Covid, life insurance, PPE, essential equipment such as carts, buckets. It is infuriating. We lost our sisters to Covid, but we continued to work. Does the PMC have an iota of commitment to enhancing the efforts of waste pickers? Asked Rani Shivsharan, another Hadapsar garbage collector.
“Recognizing their commitment to citizens, waste pickers will continue their work to protect the health of the city. However, they will wear black bracelets to work and ask for the support and solidarity of citizens, ”said Harshad Barde, director of SWaCH.
In the past, the PMC signed an agreement with SWaCh for five years but did not do so this time.
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