Ph.D. scholar and manual scavenger Sunil Yadav fights for study leave, BMC pays no heed

The story of Sunil Yadav, a PhD scholar who has to work as a manual scavenger with Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is well-known. The journey of Yadav, who is pursuing his degree from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, continues to remain filled with hiccups. What is especially surprising is that it is the BMC which seems hell-bent on being a major roadblock in Yadav’s journey to success.

Yadav has alleged that BMC is not sanctioning an unpaid study leave and issuing a No Objection Certificate (NOC), which is necessary for him in order to present a paper at the University of Massachusetts, USA.

In a Facebook post about the same, Yadav wrote, “I am selected for paper presentation at University of Massachusetts, USA for conference on 4- 6th May 2018. But BMC did not sanction my unpaid leave and now I am facing VISA problem. Also BARTI did not give me fellowship because of unpaid leave from BMC. I have no money to attend conference and survive.”

He further said, “So I appeal and request you to support me and my Safai Karmachari community for dignity. Please help me to get unpaid leave from BMC commissioner. Call to him, send letters etc. as soon as possible for relief.”

Yadav shared his problem with, “I received a fellowship from Babasaheb Ambedkar Research Institute (BARTI), Pune in November last year. Soon after the results were declared, I wrote to BMC for unpaid leave and NOC to appear for the fellowship. But they did not reply.”

Sunil Yadav had to file an application under Right to Information Act (RTI) to get the attention from the authorities. “They informed me through the RTI that other papers are needed to process my application. I filed all the relevant papers in March this year, but I am still waiting for their reply,” said Sunil.

As mentioned above, Yadav has also been selected for presenting his research work at the University of Massachusetts for a conference themed “The Unfinished Legacy of Ambedkar”, but he can appear neither at BARTI nor at the University of Massachusetts in case the BMC does not issue him a NOC.

On Yadav’s request, the BARTI officials wrote to Assistant Commissioner at BMC, but BMC officials did not bother to reply to them as well.

Yadav said, “NOC is the key to everything I have to do. Without it, I cannot get my fellowship from BARTI, and neither can I go to Massachusetts for the same.”

“First time in history, A Safai Karmachari (Scavenger) could be going to the US to present a paper, I appeal my community to believe in education,” he urged in his Facebook post.

However, events in the past suggest that BMC does not have a good relationship with Yadav. Last year,  BMC fired Sunil Yadav when he filed a transfer request, but he was reinstated after higher bodies interfered.

This time too, Sunil Yadav has reached out to state administration. On Saturday April 7, Yadav met with Maharashtra’s Chief Minister regarding the same, after which the state’s education minister assured him of early help.

But for Yadav, time is something which is not in his hands. “I may lose both of these opportunities if they do not process my leave and NOC request in time,” said Yadav.

When tried to reach BMC Commissioner Ajoy Mehta, he was busy to respond. However, the story will be updated once we receive a response from the BMC.

Courtesy: Two Circles



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