Why are you fighting against privatising conservancy works?
Naturally, the private firms’ intent would be to make more profit from the project and not civic service. As the conservancy works directly affect the health of the public, compromising on sanitation would lead to various public health issues. The private firms would also decrease the wages, and there are also chances of poor and illiterate workers losing their jobs. Now, Chennai Corporation has floated tenders to privatise works in eight Zones. If we allow them to do so, they would privatise the conservancy works in all the zones.
What is your next course of action?
We have already united all the workers’ unions to stand against the proposal of privatisation. Recently, we rallied towards the State Secretariat. Following the protest, the authorities have temporarily postponed the tender and have given this in writing. Based on Corporation’s actions, we will decide on the next course of protests.
How will you mobilise public support for this cause?
Initially, we found difficulties to convince the workers about the ulterior motives behind privatisation. Now, they are all against privatisation. Meanwhile, we are trying to explain the issue to the public. We are conducting signature campaigns apart from distributing pamphlets. Most people think that we are fighting for the jobs and problems of conservancy workers, but it is not only for our benefit. The decision will impact city’s sanitation.