As rag pickers make their living by making sure that a city stays clean despite having inadequate basic facilities to sustain the lives of their families and they neither have ration cards nor aadhar cards that they could point out as their identities, the Mangalore City Corporation has issued identity cards for rag pickers in order to make their lives a little better.
Under the ‘Swachh Bharat scheme of the Central government, local bodies are required to locate rag pickers who with their work help in keeping the city and towns clean. Non- governmental organisations are given this responsibility by the city corporation in its efforts, the Corporation has identified 40 rag pickers and issued them identity cards. This was followed by these rag pickers being included for garbage collection by Antony Waste Handling Cell Pvt Ltd who are given the contract for waste collection.
The corporation is on a mission to identify and provide identity cards to the 156 people listed in the survey conducted by Hasiru Dala and APD Foundation in a time period between 2019-2020. The identity cards constitute their name, addresses, photos, roads and wards of their waste collection.
Most of the rag pickers in Mangalore are people who have migrated from north Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Unfortunately for their economic level and their unfamiliarity, they do not get places to rent for a living. Their day starts very early as they get to work early in the morning. Plastic and metal collected by them are sold to scrap dealers.
The voluntary organisation called Hasiru Dala that started in 2010 in Bengaluru has been putting in their efforts to better the lives of rag pickers. They have branches in Mysore, Mangaluru, Tumkur among other cities. They not only identify rag pickers, but they also make them aware about hygienic practices, organise medical camps for them. Hasiru Dala organisation believes that with the newly issued identity cards, they can avail facilities that were denied to them like that of being able to open accounts in banks.
Diwakar Pandeshwar, the City mayor expressed that the issuing of identity cards is a step towards scientific disposal of waste. As an ode to the father of the nation, on Gandhi Jayanti, identity cards were issued to a few. All 156 of those rag pickers identified will be given ID cards in the days to come, he ensured. masks, gloves as well as health checks have also been performed for their well- being in the initiative of the corporation.