Streets ahead: The story of an unknown pourakarmika

Streets ahead: The story of an unknown pourakarmika

Submitted by Editor on Tue, 2016-02-16 18:40 Bengaluru: BBMP pourakarmika Muniyamma, a resident of Sheshadripuram, doesn’t remember her own age. But she looks over 60 and frazzled when Bfirst met her on Tuesday. “I have been doing this job since 42 years. Every day I report to duty at 4am. I sweep and keep the Subramanya Nagar Main Road in Subramanya Nagar BBMP Ward 66 clean,” says Muniyamma about her duty as a pourakarmika.Much before Prime Minister Narendra Modi conceived of ‘Swacch Bharath’ and turned cleanliness of public places into a national issue, Muniyamma had put cleanliness at the centre of her life.Recalling her appointment as a pourakarmika at the BBMP, Muniyamma says it started with her father Kanna, who arrived from Tamil Nadu and began working as a pourakarmika in the BBMP.“After he passed away, his job was offered to me as he had no sons,” says Muniyamma jogging her memory. "I love my job as it gives me maximum satisfaction, but I am retiring this Dasara, though I would like to continue as I have to look after my two daughters.”Muniyamma’s two daughters - Suguna and Lalitha - are married and living in Bengaluru. “I want my daughters to work in this field as they are not well-settled. They are working as domestic servants in several houses in Bengaluru,” she says.Her greatest fear is unruly traffic. Muniyamma recalled a 20-year-old incident when an autorickshaw ran over her legs. “It was very painful. Since then I am scared of sweeping the main road after 7am,” she says.Are there any suggestions to younger workers? “I never want to give any suggestions. I believe that I should work hard and be honest. Eventually, only our work matters rather than suggestions,” Muniyamma says.Praising Muniyamma, Mayor of BBMP Manjunath Reddy termed her as a “model for young pourakarmikas”. “If Bengaluru has at least 100 pourakarmikas like Muniyamma, then the city can definitely be the cleanest city in the nation. There are very few awards which recognise her kind of work. Since the public have recognised her work, we may nominate her for Kempe Gowda Award," the mayor told Bfirst.Speaking about Muniyamma, H Manjunath, corporator of Subrahmanya Nagar Ward, said he had personally witnessed the dedication of Muniyamma. “She is well-known on Subramanya Nagar Main Road. Her dedication should be a model for younger workers. She is about to retire in a few months. We usually give a farewell party to all pourakarmikas in our ward when they retire. We are going to do that for Muniyamma as well,” said the corporator.Muniyamma’s efforts have also been recognised by residents who spread the word about her recently on Facebook. One post went like this: “Morning 5 45..rajajinagar..BBMP staff muniyamma on job..when askeda question.. y so early she is on job..she says yesterday there was heavy wind ...so i wanted to start early and clear the road for public...People like muniyamma with her dedication are keeping bangalore clean...no MLA r Corporator sweeps ..end of the day the real heros does the job..share it and big salute to the lady”.Bengaluru definitely needs more people like Muniyamma.