Open Letter to the CM of Tamil Nadu demanding regularization of sanitation workers of Chennai

  • May 21, 2022

Open Letter to the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu regarding the demand for regularization of the ‘temporary’ sanitation workers of Chennai Metro Water Supply and Sewerage Board


Date: 21-05-2022 



The Hon’ble Chief Minister, 

State of Tamil Nadu, 



Subject: Regarding the demand for regularization of the ‘temporary’ sanitation workers  of Chennai Metro Water Supply and Sewerage Board. 


We, the undersigned, are writing to you in support of the demand of the sanitation  workers of Chennai Metro Water Supply and Sewerage Board (CMWSSB) related to the  regularization of their employment. The workers have been waging a struggle against the monthly contract system and have been demanding permanent status for past several  years now. The governments in the past have not acted on their demands. The promise of  ‘Governance of a New Dawn’ made by your government had instilled hope in them of  getting their long-standing demands accepted, but their experience of the last few  months has belied those expectations, and forced them to announce an indefinite strike  starting from Monday, May 16, 2022.


Sanitation is a regular and continuing function of urban local bodies and hiring of  workers for a permanent activity on contract basis, goes against the spirit and letter of the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970. The contract system creates  extreme vulnerability among workers in general, but usage of extreme form of monthly  contract system is even more pernicious, given the nature of sanitation work.  


Most of the workers involved in sanitation work for Chennai Metro Water Supply and  Sewerage Board are Dalits, and the contract system not only exploits their labour, but  hinders any possibility of social mobility, forcing multiple generations of workers to  continue in sanitation work. Absence of security of employment weakens the ability of  workers to assert their right to safe work and effectively demand adequate safety and  protective gear.


For these reasons, we urge you to immediately accept the demands of the striking workers and put an end to this inhumane system of work, and thereby redeem your pledge of  ‘Governance of a New Dawn’.  


Our hope is inspired in large part by the fact that Tamil Nadu has a relatively exceptional  record of implementing welfare measures in the cause of human development, and by the  fact that your own party has been informed by a long history of pressing for  socioeconomic equity and a just social order. By responding fairly and sensitively to the legitimate demands of sanitation workers, Tamil Nadu also has the opportunity of re-asserting itself as a front-line state in the matter of public welfare policy. This could well have a demonstration effect, in terms of setting an example which many other States of  the Indian Union may feel compelled to follow.


Also read :

Open letter from the sanitation workers to the residents of Chennai


Endorsed by, 



  1. Medico Friend Circle (MFC) 
  2. Safaikarmachari Kavalu Samithi-Karnataka



S. No. Name  Affiliation
Abdul Matin  Assistant Professor, Jadavpur University, Kolkata
Abhishek De  Université Paris Cité
Alladi Sitaram  Indian Statistical Institute( Retd.)
Amar Jesani  Independent Consultant
Anik  Ambedkar International Center
Anurag Bhargava  Doctor
Arul Shankar  Assistant Professor, University of Toronto
Ashwin Subramanian Harvard
Azam Khan  APCR
10  Deepa V  Delhi
11  Deepika  Jan Swasthya Abhiyan Chhattisgarh
12  Dr. Adithya 


Azim Premji University
13  Dr. B Karthik Navayan Advocate
14  Dr. Goldy M. George Activist, Author, Academician
15  Dr. Mira Shiva  Public Health Physician, Delhi
16  Dr. Prabir Chatterjee  Independent Community Medicine consultant

17 Dr. Ramakrishna Prasad 

PCMH Restore Health; Academy of Family Physicians of India


18  Dr. Sadanand 


Ex-Dean, LT Medical College, Mumbai
19  Dr. Sylvia Karpagam Public Health Doctor
20  Dr. Thelma Narayan  SOCHARA, Bengaluru
21  Firoz ahmad  Citizen
22  Ganga Parvathi 


23  Indira C  Public Health Academic, Delhi
24  Jagdish Patel  None
25  Jan Swasthya Abhiyan Jan Swasthya Abhiyan
26  Jayashree Ramadas  Independent Researcher
27  Jayati Ghosh  University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA
28  Lasar  Labour
29  Madhu N Belur  Indian Institute of Technology Bombay
30  Manu  Institute of Physics, Bhubaneswar
31  Martin Macwan  Navsarjan Trust
32  Meghraj khinchi  Scholar
33  Motilal Nepali  Dalit Welfare Association
34  Narayan Nambudiri  Private Citizen
35  Prof. Anil Sadgopal  Former Member, Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE)
36  Prof. Dr. Sushrut 


Cultural Psychiatrist, University College London
37  Prof. Mohan Rao  Jan Swasthya Abhiyan
38  Ram Puniyani  National Solidarity Forum
39  Ravi Kumar  Anti Caste Discrimination Alliance (ACDA)
40  Richa  Jan Swasthya Abhiyan Delhi
41  S. Krishnaswamy  Retired Senior Professor, ex Madurai Kamaraj University, Madurai


42 S. Srinivasan Independent activist 

43  S. Subramanian  Independent Researcher
44  Sajida Khan (Adv.)  HDSM
45  Sanjay Reddy  Individual
46  Santhi N.S  Individual
47  Saravanan V  Student, JNU
48  Sevanti Ninan  Editor, Worker Web Newsletter
49  Shalini Gera  Advocate, High Court of Chhattisgarh
50  Sharad Behar  Chairman Cesci, MADURAI
51  Sheshnath Tiwari  CITU, Uttar Pradesh and FMRAI
52  Shiva Shankar  Visiting Professor, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay
53  Shreekumar  Sangatya, Udupi
54  Shuchita  Socialist Party (India)
55  Siddharth K J  Independent Researcher, Bengaluru
56  Siddhartha Das  Public Health Activist
57  Sreejith Murali  Doctoral Scholar, IIT Bombay
58  Supratik Chakraborty Individual
59  Suratno Basu  SRM University, AP
60  Swarnavel Eswaran  Michigan State University
61  Thangaraj M  Former Professor, Department of Economics, University of Madras
62  Usha  NMSWorks Software Pvt Ltd
63  V R Raman  Public and environment health practitioner
64  Venkatesh Athreya  Adjunct Professor, Asian College of Journalism, Chennai
65  Vijay Mandke  Vidrohi Sanskritik Chalval , Maharashtra
66  Vinay Kumar Jha  Student, IIM-AHMEDABAD


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