Sweepers take to streets

Demand pending salaries, litter garbage on roads

Sanitation workers with the East Delhi Municipal Corporation took to streets on Tuesday demanding salaries, regular posts and better working conditions.

Scores of safai karamcharis assembled at the Jagatpuri Chowk and littered the streets with garbage in protest. They started a padyatra from Karkardooma Court at around 10 am and marched till Karkari Mor disrupting. They burnt effigies of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Later, the safai karamcharis went to Laxmi Nagar shouting slogans “How can we work on empty stomach”.

The sanitation workers with the East Corporation have not been paid salaries for the past two months. There are over 8,000  workers deployed by the civic agency to lift garbage under its areas.

The corporation is in the red and it requires Rs 100 crore a month to pay salaries to its over 45,000 employees.

The sanitation workers’ union said that the employees have not received salaries for the past two months. “Despite tall claims of the officials, sanitation workers have not been paid salaries for April and May,” said Rajendra Mewati, President, Delhi Pradesh Safai Mazdoor Union.

“We are going to strike work for next few days until all sanitation workers are paid salaries for the past two months,” he added.

The workers’ unions are also demanding the regularisation of safai karamcharis. “All the employees under other departments who were recruited by the civic agency till 2003 have been regularised. But the sanitation employees are yet to be given permanent jobs,” said Mewati.

But the East Delhi Municipal Corporation Mayor Harsh Deep Malhotra said that nearly 70 per cent of the total employees have been given their wages for April. The civic agency is trying to pay salaries to rest of the employees by this week, he added.

A senior official said the corporation does not have funds to pay salaries to sanitation workers for May. “The civic agency is seeking funds from the city government and as soon as it get them the safai karamcharis will be paid their salaries,” he added.

The BJP-led municipal corporations have been accusing the Aam Aadmi Party-run city government of withholding their funds. The official said that the east civic agency’s annual income was about Rs 1,200 crore, while its expenditure stood at Rs 2,200 crore.
“We have not received our global share of taxes as well as grants for education. Hence the civic agency is in deficit,” he added.

Even the North Delhi Municipal Corporation has not been able to pay salaries to its employees for May. The sanitation workers with north civic agency have decided to hold a meeting on Wednesday and discuss whether or not to join the strike.

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