Seven workers responsible for cleaning buses at Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) depot in Kothrud have been forced to work in a stinky and unhealthy environment since a month. According to them, the root of the problem is a well from where they get water for cleaning purposes.
When this reporter went to the spot, he discovered that it was difficult to breathe due to some fumes being released from the well.
Due to the same reason, some workers have reportedly fallen ill and the others have refused to continue work until the condition is resolved. According to them, many complaints have been made to the authorities but no action has been taken till date.
“We are responsible for washing buses after bringing them to the washing section. However, since a month, the well adjacent to the section is emanating a strong stink and working in proximity to the well has become impossible,” said Sachin Ahir, an employee.
“We contacted the section engineer who looks after sanitation and maintenance work for the depot. He had promised to send a sample of the well water to the lab. However, till date, nobody has taken the sample and we are forced to work in unhygienic conditions,” he added.
Another worker said that he was suffering from a heart ailment and it was getting impossible for him to work at the facility.
Tired of being ignored by their seniors, the affected employees approached Kothrud ward office of Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and local corporator Shankar Kemse, but were ignored by them as well.
A woman worker claimed to have fallen sick due to the smell and her hands are constantly itching due to the contaminated water of the well used for washing.
When contacted, Rajendra Kandhare, a union leader of PMPML, said that it was possible that a drainage line that had gone through the depot might have leaked and the dirty water was now entering the well from somewhere.
“Every summer, the water level of the well goes down. But this time, the water has not decreased. This might be because of the drainage water entering the well,” he said.
The other side
When contacted, Chandrakant Warpe, manager of Kothrud depot said that he came to know about the issue two days ago and immediately instructed the PMC officials to come and spray chlorine into the well. He also claimed to have told the engineers to collect water samples and send it to the laboratory.
“We have asked the employees to stop the washing work until the issue is solved. They will be shifted to other departments soon,” he said.