BIJAPUR; 02 Dec: The drivers and operators who have the job of collecting garbage every day in the city, held a strike on Wednesday to register their protest for getting their salaries for the last five months.
The Bijapur City Corporation that has some 125 drivers and operators working in various sections are making every effort to get their pending salaries and are fighting to get their pending wages of five months.
Mohsin Almel, driver at Corporation from the past 12 years, said that, “We have not received our salary since June. Life has become difficult with hardly any savings left to run the family. We are still surviving with the wages that were given during lockdown and taking loans from the private money lenders,” said Mohsin.
It is not only the story of Mohsin but the other 124 employees that are working on contract basis in the city corporation. The Bijapur City Corporation Motorists and Welfare Association had staged protests at least twice against the Corporation in the last three months demanding the authorities to clear their pending wages but it remained unheard.
Harsha Shetty commissioner of Corporation claimed that they have paid their contractors two months wages but the Contractor has kept the wages of the workers pending.
“ The payments of the contract workers have to be made by the contractors and we have asked him to make the payment as soon as possible. We have to pay the remaining five months wages and it is being delayed because the city corporation is facing the deficit of funds due to Covid-19 crisis,” stated commissioner Shetty. He however claimed that the workers will be on duty from Thursday.
Every month the city corporation needs around Rs 25 lakh to pay the wages for the motorists and operators of the Corporation. “The Corporation is facing the financial crunch because of the poor tax collection. Owing to Covid crisis many taxpayers mainly business establishments are yet to pay the taxes to the corporation. This has affected the revenue of the Corporation,” claimed sources.
Shankar Chalavadi, chairman of the association said that they have been seeking their salaries and have asked the contractors to clear the salaries.
“ When we ask the Contracts, they blame the city corporation for not paying their dues, and when we ask the commissioner, he blames contractors for the delay in wages. In this blame game the drivers and operations are becoming victims. The authorities concerned should pay the pending wages in the earliest or else they have to face the consequences,” cautioned Shankar.
Deputy Commissioner P Sunil Kumar said that, “The city corporation is not delaying the payments of drivers and operators deliberately. It is because of the financial difficulties the wages are being delayed. We understand the difficulties of employees. I will direct the contractor to pay the wages of at least two months. If he fails, we will disqualify him from the contract,” stated DC Sunil Kumar.