Losing her job due to pandemic, teacher becomes driver of waste collection vehicle in Bhubaneswar

·2-min read
Smrutirekha Behera with her daughters in Bhubaneswar (Photo/ANI)
Smrutirekha Behera with her daughters in Bhubaneswar (Photo/ANI)

Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India], July 4 (ANI): A school teacher in Bhubaneswar who lost her job due to the COVID-19 pandemic took up the job of driving a waste collection vehicle of the city's municipal corporation.

Smrutirekha Behera used to teach in a play and nursery school in Bhubaneswar. She was living with her husband, two daughters and in-laws at Pathabandha slum in the city. Things were running smoothly in her family until the COVID-19 pandemic struck the country and the world.

Her school was shut due to restrictions in classroom teaching following the outbreak. Even home tuition was restricted in wake of the pandemic. Left with no option, Behera picked up the job of driving the garbage collection vehicle of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) - 'Mu Safaiwala'. The vehicle collects municipal solid wastes and transports them to the dump yard from 5 am to 1 pm every day.

Speaking to ANI, Behera said, "Due to the COVID pandemic, the school announced closure. I had to stop home tuition classes which used to my second earning source due to the COVID norms. I became helpless as the pandemic left no other option for earning. Even my husband was getting no salary from his private job in Bhubaneswar."

"I have two daughters. We even could not feed them properly during the pandemic. I took money from others to run the family but could make it many days. I have seen the worst situation of my life during the pandemic," she said.

"I am currently driving BMC's garbage vehicle. I am working with BMC for the last three months to run my family. It is quite difficult to visit door to door and collect garbage during the second wave. But, I have to go ahead and run my family. I never hesitate to work as a sanitation worker as I respect my duty," she added. (ANI)

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