After a day-long meeting of the BBMP council on Thursday, councillors resolved not to let go of any pourakarmika currently on the rolls. This includes the over 3,300 workers who have worked for less than a year, and have been deemed excess as per the one-pourakarmika-for-700-population ratio, which the civic body currently follows.

Measures are being taken to ensure that all workers are paid their salaries for the last six months within two daysas per their biometric attendance, Mayor R. Sampath Raj told the council.

This comes in the wake of a pourakarmika allegedly committing suicide after not being paid for six months.

The ratio of pourakarmikas to the population was criticised by councillors across party lines. Commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad said that the ratio of 1:700 is not sacrosanct, and that additional workforce could be employed provided it was justified. The Directorate of Municipal Administration had, in 2017, came up with the ratio for all urban local bodies. The BBMP adhered to this ratio while implementing direct payment to pourakarmikas.

“There is no scientific basis for either the one pourakarmika for 700 population or one garbage collection auto for every 750 households ratios. Both have ruined the solid waste management system and threatened the livelihood of thousands of workers,” said Padmanabha Reddy, Opposition Leader.

Mr. Prasad said that the civic body would now take up ward mapping, plotting both the pourakarmikas and vehicles required on the GIS-based ward map, as well as a fresh ‘time and motion study’. This, he maintained, will reveal the excess or deficit workforce in each ward.

“It will be taken up on a pilot basis in one ward. Based on this, if needed, those among the 3,300-odd workers now considered excess will be included in the rolls. They will also be taken on the rolls in case of retirement or death among the 2,500 permanent pourakarmikas,” said Mr. Prasad.

Several zonal joint commissioners were questioned on the efficacy of the biometric registration, which had been introduced to weed out bogus names and excess staff. Several councillors argued that the presence of 3,300-odd excess workers on the rolls showed that the exercise had failed.

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