With no salaries for 6 months, BBMP data entry workers face financial turmoil

With no salaries for 6 months, BBMP data entry workers face financial turmoil

Submitted by Rashmi on Sat, 2016-11-05 12:50 Bengaluru: An inept contractor and an insensitive BBMP have combined to make the lives of more than 400 data entry workers working for the civic body miserable.The workers, hired on contract, haven’t received their salaries for the past 6 months as their contract has not been renewed.Sharda, a data entry operator and a resident of Doddabidrikallu, says the delay had been causing her endless misery.“I receive a salary of Rs10,324. Every day, I have to travel to Dasarahalli zone office but it is so tough that I don’t have money even to buy bus tickets,” she says. The non-payment of salary has also made Sharda default on paying interest on loan borrowed from money lenders.According to workers, the salary mess has been created by an inefficient arrangement between the BBMP and the contractor. Sharda says the BBMP had outsourced the hiring to two private firms: Strategic Solutions Private Limited and RMS Technologies Private Limited.“When we ask them for salary, they say the BBMP is yet to release money and renew the contract. When we ask BBMP officials, they say that they are going by rules and will not pay until the contract will be renewed,” says Sharda.Squeezed between the two are workers like Sharda, who says that she is no longer able to send her daughter to tuitions.Tanujakshi, president of the BBMP Computer Operators Union, says the BBMP was supposed to release salaries from May and also give a salary hike from August, but the promises have remained just that: promises."We have to pay the rent. Our situation is very bad. Few even have expressed suicide as an option as there are mounting debts due to non-payment of salaries from BBMP," she says.The workers say that the yearly renewal of contract by BBMP has been causing havoc as contractors take time in working out the new salary and other facilities such as ESI and Provident Fund. The BBMP also delays clearing files, they claim.Tired of complaining, the workers finally wrote to Labour Commissioner Sripad SB seeking his intervention, following which the commissioner asked labour inspectors in each BBMP zone to file a report on the salary issue."Apart from seeking report from my officials, I will also have to ask them to initiate legal process. This would mean sending notices to BBMP seeking their explanation and directing them to settle the issue," says Sripad SB.On Tuesday, workers, frustrated over the delay in file movement, gheraoed Lokesh, BBMP’s Additional Commissioner for Administration.But the move might not help the workers as Lokesh is only promising one month’s salary by November. “The BBMP will be able to pay one-month salary by November first week. We are planning on implementing the new system of making fresh MoU where the contract will be renewed for every three years instead of one. The contractor should have renewed his contract on time. If the company had renewed it, the BBMP would not have delayed the salary,” says Lokesh.