Bhubaneswar: Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik Friday launched Gairma, a welfare scheme for 20,000 sanitation workers of the State.

Speaking on the occasion Patnaik said, “I am glad to dedicate the scheme Garima for the welfare of sanitation workers of our state. It is a humble tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary who had been fighting throughout his life for the rights equality and social dignity of this underprivileged people “. Quoting Mahatma Gandhi he said, “Sanitation is more important than independence”.

“They have also been rendering valuable service in our fight against Covid. risking their life.”

“This GARIMA scheme, I hope, will be successful in realising the dreams of our father of Nation. and give the sanitation workers their rightful place in the society .”

The scheme- Garima aims at ensuring safety & dignity in the core sanitation work along with several protective and welfare measures.

It includes Sptate wide survey and identification of sanitation workers engaged in core sanitation work, regulating sanitation service organizations including those in the private sector, introduction of special wage category, introduction of Risk & Hardship allowance, provision of health and life insurance, priority in educational institutions, 90 percent grant as Housing Assistance, 90 percent grant for buying 2 wheeler, mandatory provision of personal protective equipments and safety devices, ex-gratia in case of accident and injury, EPF, ESI, Family pension etc.

A dedicated corpus fund initially with Rs. 50 crore will also be created. A State Commission for Core Sanitation Workers will also be constituted.

The scheme will be implemented in all the 114 Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) of Odisha.

About 20,000 core sanitation workers and their families covering one lakh population are likely to be benefitted under this scheme.