Thrissur: Thekkinkadu Maidan (ground), which hosts Thrissur Pooram every year, is the pride of every festival-goer. However, Thekkinkadu Maidan is also witness to another hapless event that plays out every morning.
Every morning at 6, women turn up to clean the Pooram ground. The sad part is they have not been paid salary for one year!
They were appointed by the district tourism promotion council (DTPC).
In 2005, the DTPC and Thrissur corporation appointed 50 women to clean Thekkinkadu ground and town. The DTPC's priority was to keep Thekkinkadu clean. However, as the women had to take waste from shops and clean up the town roads, the attention that Thekkinkadu received reduced considerably.
The famed ground turned filthy and almost became a wilderness of weeds and other plants.
Then in 2008, the DTPC asked 25 of them to work exclusively for Thekkinkadu.
The rest 25 found means of living from what the corporation gave as salary and the amount they got from the shops. The DTPC began to give Rs 10,500 for the 25 assigned to clean Thekkinkadu. The DTPC passed the salary bill based on the letter the corporation used to send in this regard.
The procedure worked thus: The corporation would hand over a document after considering a letter given by the health inspector, the in-charge of the park. The document will be handed over the district Kudumbashree mission and then to the DTPC, who will disburse the salary.
The procedure that had been going on without a glitch met with a roadblock last year.
The corporation refused to give the letter, and the DTPC was unable to disburse salary. The DTPC has the funds but cannot give the salary unless they get the letter from the corporation, is the answer that the authorities have been giving to these hapless women.
The corporation is of the stance that the money given by both the DTPC and the corporation should be combined and equally distributed between the 50 women.
Undeterred by this callousness, the women have been registering their protest - by working every single day. They hope that at least the mayor, who is a woman like them, would take some action to end their plight.