Bhubaneswar: The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent closure of schools forced a woman teacher in the capital city to work as a garbage vehicle driver for Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC).
Smrutirekha Behera, a resident of Patharabandha slum here, was earlier working as a teacher at a private school in Chakeisiani area while her husband works in a private company.
Her livelihood got severely affected as the school was closed, owing to the COVID-19 lockdown. Worse, her husband’s salary was reduced to half.
The woman, a mother of two daughters, then decided to work as driver of waste collection vehicle under BMC’s ‘Mu Safaiwala’ campaign.
She had undertaken a driving training course organised for some women of the slum in 2019. The training helped her in securing the driver job, that includes collection of garbage from various residential areas in the city and transportation of those to the dump yard between 5 am and 1 pm, everyday.
“After closure of schools, I had to stop tuition class, which was my secondary source of income. I had to feed my two daughters. Left with no option, I took up the job of garbage vehicle driver to sustain my family. However, I respect my duty and never hesitate to work as a sanitation worker,” she said.