Officials say they have provided ‘uniform’, but union president calls it a lie
Srinagar: Sweepers employed by the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) have to work in extreme weather conditions without proper winter gear. While the temperature in the valley has been dropping drastically in the past few days, the corporation is not providing them any warm clothing, mask, gloves or shoes.
According to the sweepers, it is extremely difficult for them to perform their duties in extreme cold with no arrangement to keep their bodies warm.
“Our day starts early in the morning irrespective of the season. We are supposed to clear the garbage at an early hour in the morning. Yet, no one is bothered to even think whether we have winter gear to keep us warm in this harsh winter,” SMC Union President Ghulam Mohammad Solina told Kashmir Reader.
He said that sometimes he provides, from his own pocket, rain coats to the sweepers. “I cannot see them working in the rain like this, so I purchased a few rain coats for them on my own,” Solina said.
He alleged that the SMC claims that it has provided workers with uniforms but has actually not done so.
A sweeper, Bashir Ahmad, said, “We work here from 7 in the morning and clean the roads and the drains, but the department does not bother about our safety.”
He questioned if anyone bothers about the fact that a sweeper does not have the equipment to collect the garbage and is required to collect the dust with their bare hands. It becomes immensely difficult in winters, he added.
Another sweeper, Nissar Ahmad, rued that the sanitation workers have to contend with a “step-motherly treatment.”
“The department is least bothered about lower-rung employees like us. We are neglected by them,” he said.
SMC officials claim that they have provided their workers with uniform. Sanitation Officer Mudasir Banday told Kashmir Reader that for this financial year, the SMC has provided uniform and has signed another order for purchasing winter uniform for workers.
He added that once the SMC receives the order, sanitation workers can collect the winter uniform from the department.