TODAY -

IMC sweepers forced to work with shoddy masks
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, July 28 2020: When hygiene and proper sanitisation of the surroundings have been recognised as one of the effective ways to avoid COVID-19 infection, more than 200 sweepers engaged with the Imphal Municipal Corporation (IMC) are working without proper PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) and cleaning the city, clearing the garbages and scraps.

They work 7 days a week without an off day.

From 6 am, they start their work (cleaning) at Keishamthong area and proceed towards Ima Keithel, Sanjenthong and cover other pockets under the jurisdiction of the Imphal Municipal Corporation.



IMC sweepers forced to work with shoddy masks
IMC sweepers forced to work with shoddy masks


Yet, when this reporter travelled around the city today, the majority of the sweepers were found without hand gloves to protect themselves.

Amid the rising number of COVID-19 cases, they too are apprehensive of getting infected.

When this reporter advised they should wear face masks and wear hand gloves when sweeping and handling the wastes, one of them simply said "We don't have proper equipment (PPEs)" .

One of the woman sweepers claimed they have not been provided proper and adequate PPEs amid the pandemic.

"We have already appealed to the authority concerned of the IMC, but there is no response till today," she said adding they are worried about their health and getting infected with the virus as many times they are forced to handle/pick up discarded used face masks, left and thrown away by people, without hand gloves.

When the coronavirus pandemic first started, the IMC provided them with one pair of hand gloves each.

And in a month, they receive only one or two face masks, she said.

"We are not given proper PPEs to handle waste and scraps amid the pandemic, yet we are still carrying out our duties everyday.

We too are risking our health.

Handling used and discarded masks amid the pandemic is risky if we are not provided hand gloves and face masks," she said adding they find lots of discarded masks lying on roads and other places.

"If we are to face the virus effectively, we should be provided the right PPEs in adequate quantities.

Hygiene and proper sanitation will help the State fight the pandemic more effectively," she said adding they should be using disposable standard face masks, hand gloves and changing them everyday for safety.

"There are around 154 women sweepers and 65 men sweepers engaged with the IMC on a meagre monthly salary of Rs 6,750.The salaries are also not paid regularly, but still we work everyday to feed our families," she said.

She also appealed the authorities concerned, IMC and the Government to look into their grievances and address the issue at the earliest.


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