Srinagar, Dec 20: Safai Karamcharis have a reason to rejoice as Jammu and Kashmir government is all set to implement National Commission for Safai Karamcharis Act in the Union Territory in a bid regularize the unsung heroes of cleanliness and bring them under insurance cover.
Official figures reveal that there are 3300 Safai Karamcharies in Srinagar alone, of whom only 1600 are regular employees while rest are daily wagers.
“For the first time, there will be an organization that will work for the welfare of Safai Karamcharies of Jammu and Kashmir,” said an official of Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC).
Chairman, Safai Karamchari Union, Ghulam Mohammad Solina said they have been facing step motherly treatment from the government for years. “Government has always neglected us. There is not a single scheme for the welfare of Safai Karamcharis in J&K,” he said
Solina said Safai Karamcharis work 365 days without taking day off. “We face acute manpower crunch. We are overburdened with work. Plus we receive meager salaries. Our daily wagers receive their salaries after four months delay,” he said
Solina however pinned hope on National Commission to redress their grievances. “The Commission will work for the betterment of Safai Karamcharis,” he said.
National Commission for Safai Karamcharis Act has recommended specific programmes of action towards the elimination of inequalities in status, facilities and opportunities for Safai Karamcharis under a time-bound plan.
“Study and evaluate the implementation of the programmes and schemes relating to the social and economic rehabilitation of Safai Karamcharis and make recommendations to the Central, State and UT Government for better co-ordination and implementation of such programmes and schemes,” the Act reads.
Chairman, National Commission for Safai Karamchari, Manhar Valjibhai Zala told The Kashmir Monitor that they are planning to visit Srinagar in the first week of February to conduct a survey in the Union Territory.
“We will pass the direction to constitute Commission in the new UT. Due to Article 370, the Act was not implemented in J&K and with the result Safai Karamcharis faced many problems”, he said.
During a visit to Srinagar in June this year, a team of National Commission for Safai Karamcharis found that certain laws pertaining to Safai Karamcharis were being violated with impunity.
Zala, who was heading the team, found that the provident fund of Safai Karamcharis is not deducted from the salaries, which is a violation of labour laws.
The Commission also learned that there is no life insurance policy specifically meant for Safai Karamcharis. Plus there was no departmental medical check-up conducted on Safai Karamcharis.