A staff who cleans 30 toilets twice a day is paid only Rs.100 per day

Tamil Nadu: It is challenging for approximately 32,900 cleanliness workers in rural schools of Tamil Nadu to make ends meet. Despite cleaning hundreds of toilets daily, they have been earning only 100 rupees a day for the past 10 years. The sad part is that even this meager amount is not given to many of them.

For rural primary school sanitation workers, the monthly salary is 100 rupees. In secondary schools, it’s 1500 rupees, in higher secondary schools, it’s 2250 rupees, and for workers in higher secondary schools, it’s 3000 rupees.

In the government higher secondary school in Namakkal district, where there are 400 students, a female worker handles the cleaning of 30 toilets and 20 restrooms daily. Despite working for more than three hours a day solely for sanitation work, she receives only 3000 rupees as a salary.

“I work here only because my children study in this school. The salary is very low and irregular. Sometimes, they don’t even pay for ten months,” says a woman working in Namakkal.

For the academic year 2023-24, the Department of Rural Development in the state has allocated 62.7 crore rupees for the purchase of sanitation equipment for cleanliness workers in schools under the Panchayat Union and government schools.

In 2022-23, 63 crore rupees were allocated. According to reports, this amount has been allocated for providing grants for cleanliness in schools since 2015.

According to the head teachers and teachers of rural schools, the salary has not been revised for the past decade. The salary is very low and irregular, leading many workers to quit their jobs. In some schools, teachers are voluntarily giving a respectable salary to cleanliness workers.

The president of the Postgraduate Teachers’ Association, A. Ramu, has requested the government to appoint two cleanliness workers and one watchman for each school. Under the MANREGA scheme, cleanliness workers with more than 100 students should be paid a daily salary of 300 rupees. The state government should fix a salary of 10,000 rupees per month for cleanliness workers.”

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