Mysore/Mysuru: Regretting that Pourakarmika issues have not been largely addressed even after 75 years of Independence, Water Resources, Major and Medium Irrigation Minister Govind Karjol said that, however, the present dispensation under the leadership of Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai is making all efforts to address the issues.
He was speaking after inaugurating ‘Pratibha Puraskar’ programme organised by Karnataka State Safai Karmachari Commission in association with the District Administration for honouring meritorious children of Pourakarmikas, at KSOU Convocation Hall in Muktagangothri campus here this morning.
Observing that it is shameful to note that there are still 5,000 manual scavengers in the State, Karjol said that though all efforts are being made to end this inhuman practice, it has remained in existence.
Maintaining that Pourakarmika demands such as free education for their children, complete eradication of manual scavenging practice and considering Pourakarmikas as Government servants are fair, Karjol said that it was the first BJP Government (2008 to 2013) headed by B.S. Yediyurappa which established the Karnataka Safai Karmachari Commission for the upliftment and empowerment of Pourakarmikas.
Listing out the facilities and benefits extended by the BJP Government for Pourakarmikas, he said that the Bommai Government recently announced hardship allowance of Rs. 2,000 to each Pourakarmika, which no other Government did earlier.
Reiterating that the Bommai Government is committed for the welfare of Pourakarmikas, he called upon the concerned authorities to order a survey on the actual number of Pourakarmikas serving in rural areas, as there are apprehensions that Gram Panchayats (GPs) have come up with wrong numbers.
Bemoaning that manual scavenging continues to haunt the society despite a ban on the same, Karjol asserted that 90 manual scavengers have died while on duty and action must be taken against officials for their apathy.
Karnataka Safai Karmachari Commission Chairman Kote M. Shivanna, who delivered the keynote address, highlighted the functioning of the Commission and the measures taken by it to address Pourakarmika issues. Arguing that the Government has regularised 12,000 out of the 53,000 outsourced or contractual Pourakarmikas in the State, he said that the CM has said that regularisation is under serious consideration of the Government and an announcement in this regard may be made soon.
Shivanna further said that the ‘Pratibha Puraskar’ programme will be held at all District headquarters of the State, the first one of which was held in Mysuru today.
A total of 81 Pourakarmika children who passed out with distinction in SSLC and PUC (2021-22) were presented ‘Pratibha Puraskar’ on the occasion. Also, some of the needy meritorious children were distributed free laptops.
District in-Charge Minister S.T. Somashekar, MLA L. Nagendra, in-Charge Mayor Sunanda Palanetra, MLC C.N. Manjegowda, Chairmen of various Boards and Corporations — S. Mahadevaiah, Ka.Pu. Siddalingaswamy, M. Shivakumar, K.C. Venkatesh, Mirle Srinivas Gowda and Raghu Kautilya —Deputy Commissioner Dr. Bagadi Gautham, Zilla Panchayat (ZP) CEO B.R. Poornima, Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) Commissioner G. Lakshmikantha Reddy, Safai Karmachari Commission Secretary Chandrakala and others were present.