| A PMC sanitation worker on duty |
Patna, Feb. 6: In a bid to check corruption and ensure regular salary payment to sanitation workers, Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) has decided to open their bank accounts and transfer salaries directly.
The move is also aimed at stopping the sanitation workers from going on strike demanding regular salary. Satisfied with salaries on time, PMC authorities expect, the employees will ensure the city is spic and span 365 days.
“There are 72 wards in the corporation and each has 10 to 15 sanitation workers. There is no shortage of funds and the employees can be paid regularly. But there are frequent complaints about salaries not being paid on time. We have decided to open bank accounts for these employees and transfer their salaries directly, as it is done for others. This will perhaps solve their problem,” PMC commissioner Manish Kumar told The Telegraph.
A corporation official said the plan would be implemented soon to stop the middlemen from “gobbling up” the salary of the sanitation workers paid through the maintenance fund of the civic body.
At present, each worker is paid Rs 110 daily. The corporation shells out more that Rs 33 lakh every month to pay the workers. But the officials responsible for the disbursement of salaries are often accused of keeping the money to themselves, leading to widespread dissatisfaction among the workers. The employees also went on strike demanding regularisation of pay.
“We know that many clerks and babus eke out their daily expenditure on sabji-bhaji (vegetables) from our salaries. We often have to bribe them to get our salaries. This is unfair but we are helpless,” said a sanitation worker, posted at Kankerbagh.
He added: “The system of payment is not clear and the officials take its advantage. We have protested in the past and the authorities promised us to look into our demands. But nothing has happened till now. Let us see if this plan works.”
Some of the employees are happy over the move of opening bank accounts and transferring salary directly to them. They find it employee-friendly.
“Our sole concern is irregular payment for the hard work we do. We often go for months without seeing a penny. It is good that the corporation is taking such a step to help us,” said another sanitation worker.
Chandra Prakash Singh, the president of PMC Workers’ Association, said the step would help check the corruption.
“We have been demanding such a reform for long. Some of the officials used to misappropriate the funds earmarked for the salaries of non-regular workers. As there were no records of these employees, there was no way to check the corrupt officials,” said Singh. He added: “If bank accounts are opened for them (sanitation workers), they will be issued photo identity cards by the bank. It will reduce the chance of embezzlement.”
Singh said A2Z, the private company hired by the civic body to carry out the sanitation work, should also adapt such a policy.
Though the salaries of the sanitation workers may become regular, they would not be made permanent in the near future, said officials of the urban development department.
“PMC is planning to outsource the sanitation services to a private company. So it makes no sense to regularise the sanitation workers. But we will ensure that they get their salaries on time,” said an official of the department.