Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], July 2 (ANI): Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said on Saturday that the state government will regularise services of Pourakarmikas working on direct payment.

This came after pourakarmikas across Karnataka launched an indefinite strike starting Friday at Freedom Park in Bengaluru for the regularisation of their services.

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"The state government will regularise services of Pourakarmikas working on direct payment. We have agreed to extend social security, medical service, and assistance for the education of children of Pourakarmikas. Necessary rules will be formulated during the next assembly session," Bommai told reporters today.

The pourakarmikas are demanding dignified working conditions, provision of safety equipment, post-retirement benefits, and permanency of jobs, along with other welfare measures. They alleged that the issues have been consistently ignored by the state government.

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The protest was being organised by the Pourakarmikara Sanghatanegala Janti Horata Samiti, of which Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Powrakarmikara Sangha is a co-organiser.

Meanwhile, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders joined the pourakarmikas who are protesting at Freedom Park demanding redressal of their problems.

Speaking to reporters, Karnataka AAP president Prithvi Reddy said, "AAP in Delhi and Punjab has encouraged pourakarmikas to participate in the elections and win them. This has given political strength to the sentiments of pourakarmikas. However, in Karnataka, BJP has turned blind to the problems and pains of pourakarmikas. The BJP government is stubborn by not responding to repeated protests of pourakarmikas."

AAP state vice-president Bhaskar Rao said that protesting pourakarmikas have complete support from the party. He demanded that the jobs of pourakarmikas must be made permanent.

"If pourakarmikas refuse to work even for a single day, the waste disposal problem will worsen and people will have to close their noses. Sanitation workers, including cleaners and sweepers, are paid a meagre salary. They are unable to meet their basic needs with this salary. So, their jobs must be made permanent," said Rao.

In 2017, he said the Siddaramaiah government had proposed in the cabinet to regularise pourakarmikas, which was approved but implementation failed.

"Under the Special Recruitment Rules 2017, only those who clean roads were treated as pourakarmikas. Sewage cleaning workers, garbage collectors, garbage truck drivers, garbage loaders, and helpers are working on a contract basis. Government facilities must be made available to them," Rao emphasized.

BZ Zameer Ahmed Khan, a Congress politician and Member of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly, also extended his support to Pourkarmikas' protests at Freedom Park. (ANI)

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