With conservancy workers braving the COVID-19 threat to continue performing their work, a resident of Palladam in Tiruppur district performed pada puja (ritualistic washing of feet) for a conservancy worker on Monday to show her respect.
A video of this incident, which went viral on social media platforms, shows the resident washing the feet of M. Vasantha, a conservancy worker with the Palladam Municipality. Following the washing of the feet, the woman proceeds to garland Ms. Vasantha with flowers and currency notes.
Ms. Vasantha told The Hindu over the phone that the puja took place at around 7.30 a.m. in Ganapathy Nagar in Ward No. 14 of Palladam Municipality. I went, as usual, to collect waste when suddenly [the resident] asked me to wait for some time, she recalled. During the pada puja, Ms. Vasantha said that she was feeling nervous as this was the first time that such puja has been performed for her. I thought, we are only collecting waste, why are they doing this for us? she said. The resident thanked her for working despite the scare of COVID-19, Ms. Vasantha said.
According to M. Ganesan, Commissioner of Palladam Municipality, 281 conservancy workers are currently employed in the municipality.
I got to know of the incident only after seeing the video. I was quite touched, he said. All workers are provided with breakfast and lunch along with beverages by Palladam Municipality every day, Mr. Ganesan said. Many Palladam residents are spontaneously coming forward to show their respect for conservancy workers, according to Mr. Ganesan.
The 38-year-old Ms. Vasantha has been a conservancy worker for the past 16 years. I realised today that nobody is looking down upon us because of the work we do, she said.