Haritha Karma Sena, the green task force of every local body, is an integral part of the waste management system in the State. Without the service of these trained professionals, mostly women, the system would crumble in most local bodies.
Having said that, a large number of them do not get paid enough for the service they provide, says a report on the reality audit of the Hygiene Status carried out by the Haritha Keralam Mission and the Suchitwa Mission in 70 Grama Panchayats and eight Urban local bodies in Kozhikode district in April.
The income of the Sena members depends on the user fee collection from houses and establishments within each local body based on the amount of non-biodegradable as well as degradable waste collected by the Sena every month from the doorsteps. The Haritha Karma Sena members in 18 Grama Panchayats and the Feroke Municipality do not earn at all from the job, mostly because the Sena is not fully functional in these local bodies and the door-to-door collection is either not established or is in its teething stages.
However even in those local bodies where the Sena is somewhat functional, the earnings of the members are meagre. In 22 Grama Panchayats and 4 municipalities, their income per month is less than ₹4000 while in 25 other Grama Panchayats and Payyoli Municipality, their income per month ranges from ₹4000 to ₹8000.
The Haritha Keralam Mission and the Suchitwa Mission, as auditing agencies have suggested the local bodies to ensure a minimum wage, safety, social security and basic facilities for the Haritha Karma Sena members for effective waste management to be a reality in the State.
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