Bhubaneswar: As sanitation workers in Bhubaneswar are continuing their service despite the pandemic, the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) has ensured testing of these frontline COVID-19 warriors for their safety.
While the civic body is carrying out the garbage collection and cleaning activity in 10 wards across the city, the rest 57 wards are divided among three private sanitation agencies, Jagruti, PMR and Ramky.
There are 595 sanitation workers under the wards managed by BMC, while there are 615 sanitation workers under PMR, 715 under Ramky and 1,150 under Jagruti. While PMR manages sanitation in 14 wards, Ramky manages in 15 and Jagruti in 28 wards in the city.
It has come to the limelight that out of 3,075 “safaikarmacharis” (sanitation workers), more than 70 percent have undergone testing by different testing camps being organized regularly at different zones under BMC.
While 2,152 sanitation workers, including the 595 under BMC, have undergone testing for COVID-19 so far, many will join the camps for their tests at their respective zones in the coming days.
From the various tests it was also established that while six staff of Ramky have reported COVID-19 positive, one from Jagruti has got the Coronavirus. However, no sanitation workers from BMC-managed wards or PMR-managed wards have become COVID-19 positive so far.
On the other hand, to make the sanitation workers aware about the COVID-19 pandemic, BMC in association with Unicef and CORE, a social service organization working in the field of sanitation, has organed ward-wise capacity building camps so that the frontline sanitation warriors would get all basic information on the virus, how it spreads and how the sanitation workers would contribute their part in order to help the Temple City fight its battle against Corona.
The sanitation workers of both BMC and private agencies are asked to wear masks and gloves during cleaning/sweeping and are also provided with soaps/handwash to maintain their personal hygiene. BMC has distributed masks, gloves, sanitizers and soaps among the sanitation workers, both working under BMC and private-agency managed wards.
The sanitation or supervising staff, who have tested positive were asked to undergo 14 days mandatory quarantine period, but their salaries were credited to them as part of a goodwill gesture as they are also doing a herculean task in a way keeping the environment clean during the pandemic.