With their bills not being cleared for over seven months, more than 50 garbage contractors have closed ranks and threatened to go on a strike on March 5. Last week, the contractors met Bengaluru development minister G Parameshwara and sought his intervention in the matter. They also submitted a three-page memorandum to him.
Bills totalling over Rs 150 crore are being held back deliberately, the contractors alleged, blaming an order from solid waste management special commissioner D Randeep to verify each bill before issuing payment. Alleging that adhocism was rampant in BBMP’s solid waste management processes, the contractors alleged that an app was launched to track garbage vehicles, but after several days it was replaced by another app. They claimed they were not trained about the current app, which had been forced upon them. The contractors also claimed they never demanded extra money, citing hike in fuel prices or vehicle maintenance expenses. The contractors alleged that at a pre-bid meeting pertaining to the new tender held on February 21, they were treated like beggars.
The contractors alleged that Randeep was behind all the insult being heaped on them. Stating that it was the BBMP’s responsibility to ensure pourakarmikas were getting various benefits like ESI and PF, the contractors said nothing was happening on this front. Claiming they didn’t want to inconvenience Benglaureans, the contractors said their protest will be a one-day affair. The contractors are demanding all their dues be cleared and they be relieved from the tender in force so that those selected under the new tender could replace them. After a contractors’ delegation met him, BBMP commissioner N Manjunatha Prasad has said he’d look into the issue and clear all dues. Garbage contractor SN Balasubramaniam said the bills were being deliberately held back. “A meeting with the commissioner was successful and he has promised to settle our pending bills. But, as decided, we will be protesting against Randeep on Tuesday,” he added.