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Trash piles up on Ranchi roads

RMC said currently only 500 cleaners were on the duty and it was not sufficient to cover all the 53 wards
A heap of garbage at Konka Road in Ranchi on Tuesday.

Vijay Deo Jha   |   Ranchi   |   Published 25.03.20, 07:16 PM

The coronavirus pandemic and the resultant lockdown have hit the city’s civic services with the sanitation workers of Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) not turning up for duty.

The RMC has a total of 2,300 safai workers and around 1,500 of them report for duty on a normal day.

“The crisis started around 10 days back when a large number of safai workers started applying for leaves and some of them stopped coming to duty without informing their superiors. They said they were scared by the outbreak of the pandemic and their nature of work made them more vulnerable. However, we have provided them masks and hand sanitizers, but they still don’t think they are safe enough,” a ward supervisor said.

Sources in the RMC said currently only 500 cleaners were on the duty and it was not sufficient to cover all the 53 wards.

The RMC had recently issued a notice urging sanitation workers to not take leave and contribute to the fight against coronavirus, but the appeal didn’t work.

The situation took a turn for worse after the state government and then the Centre announced a lockdown.

“Most of our safai workers are from rural areas and they live far away from the capital. They don’t have a personal vehicle. We are planning to deploy some vehicles for their transportation. We want to continue door-to-door garbage collection,” a senior RMC official said.

The civic body has pressed into service six special vehicles to sanitise public places.

“No safai worker has collected garbage from my house for the past one week. The foul smell has become unbearable now. Due to the lockdown, I can’t go out of the house and throw it in a vat,” S.P. Singh, a resident of Kanke Road, said.

Ranchi municipal commissioner Manoj Kumar hit the road on Wednesday to supervise the cleaning work.

Late on Wednesday, the RMC announced an incentive of Rs 1,000 for March, April and May to motivate sanitasation workers to play a proactive role in keeping the city clean during the lockdown. Municipal commissioner Kumar said sanitised buses would be provided for the transportation of the safai workers from Thursday. 


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