After 11-month wait, BMC safai karamchari gets study leave

After almost a year's tussle, BMC has granted study leave to a safai karamchari.

It followed an order by National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) to grant Sunil Yadav unconditional leave or face charges under SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. The panel had visited Mumbai on February 12 after Prime Minister's Office asked it to intervene in the case, details of which were first published in The Indian Express on February 9.

BMC had ignored a series of leave applications by the 33-year-old, who wishes to pursue a post-graduate course at Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS).

BMC had replied to an RTI query that a "safai karamchari is not qualified to avail the leave" because what he will learn is not related to his duties.

The BMC rule book, however, mentions no such condition. Yadav, a class IV employee belonging to the Valmiki community, has been granted 189 days leave.

A five-page BMC order says Yadav can avail leave after furnishing documents.

Currently in the second semester of a two-year course in globalisation and labour at TISS, Yadav wants the leave to complete his masters programme. Seeking leave for more than 11 months, he has been working nights to attend classes during the day.

The leave also allows Yadav to travel to University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, as an exchange student.

"It has been unnerving to wait for nearly a year to have my leave sanctioned. Now, I hope my papers get processed and I get an opportunity to travel abroad. I would be the first in my family (to do so)," he said.

NCSC will be on February 28 in Mumbai to review the steps taken by BMC. "Yadav's case is an eye-opener. I have asked for an exhaustive report on graduates and post-graduates working with BMC who have been denied promotions," said vice-chairperson Raj Kumar Verka.

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