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SMC sweepers allege of working without winter gear

Srinagar, Nov 05: The sweepers working with Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) have to work in extreme weather conditions without proper winter gear.

As the temperature in the valley has dropped drastically in last a few days, the sweepers are alleging that the corporation is not providing them any warm clothing, mask, gloves or shoes.

According to the sweepers, it is really difficult to delivering their duties in extreme cold with no arrangement to keep their bodies warm.

“Our day starts early in the morning irrespective of seasons. We are supposed to clear the garbage from our respective areas at an earliest. Yet, no one in top hierarchy is bothered to think if we have winter gear to keep us warm in this harsh winter,” SMC sweepers Supervisor, Lal Chowk ward, Umer Bhat told The Kashmir Monitor.

Bhat said that sometimes he provides rain coats to sweepers from his own pocket. “I cannot see them working in rain so I purchased few rain coats for them on my own.”

The supervisor alleged that department claims that they provide us with uniform but in reality they are “lying.”

He added that no one can recognize them as SMC employees.

Another sweeper, Bilal Ahmad delivering his duty at TRC said, “We work here from 6 in the morning and clean the roads and the drains, but department does not bother about our safety.”

He questioned if anyone bothers about the fact that a sweeper does not have an equipment to collect the garbage and is required to collect the dust with their bare hands. At times, it becomes immensely difficult, especially in winters, added Bilal.

Another sweeper, Tariq Ahmad rued that they have to bear a “step-motherly treatment.”

“Department is least bothered about the lower rung employees like us. We are neglected by them,” said Tariq holding long broom in his cold muddy hands.

“This is not just the story of winters only, even our summers are like this. We are not even provided with masks to protect us from the increasing pollution.”

However the officials’ claims that they provide their workers with uniform.

The Joint Commissioner SMC, Abdul Majeed Raina told The Kashmir Monitor that SMC provides them uniform, but they do not wear it.

He said that just a day before they have signed an order for purchasing winter uniform for their workers to meet their winter needs.

“The workers can come and take full uniform from the office,” assured Raina.