Cleaning staff live from hand to mouth for long

'We work hard, so why can't we be paid on time?'

 “We have to run around for financial assistance even if someone catchs flu in our families. We don’t remember when was the last time we celebrated any festival. We have been living from hand to mouth for many months now,” said Ramesh, a municipal sanitation worker, who has been on strike since Wednesday last.

“We work hard, so why can’t we be paid on time. We deserve to be treated with respect but the actions of authorities say otherwise. Their apathetic attitude is making the matters worse. How can they even think that we can continue working like this?” added Ramesh, who has not received salary for the past three months.

It is the same sad story of the thousands of employees of the North and East Corporations who have been demonstrating for the past five consecutive days.

Employees of the two municipalities have been worried about the municipal schools being shut. “How can the government and the municipal corporations be so insensitive? The authorities have been playing with the future of our children. First, the schools have been shut for 15 days during the city government’s odd-even scheme and now the schools have been shut due to the ongoing strike,” said an employee with the East Corporation, requesting anonymity.

“It feels like our move to strike work has boomeranged on us. The government should think about the future of children and at least release funds so that we could go back to work,” he added.

The striking teachers have appealed to the parents to not send their children to municipal schools starting Monday as they have struck work.

During the trifurcation of the unified Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) in 2012, the then Congress government had announced that all three municipalities would be provided due funds to make them financially strong. Officials with East Delhi Municipal Corporation said that a package of Rs 451 crore was declared for the civic agency, of which only Rs 331 crore was released and “that too in the form of loan at 10.5 per cent interest rate”.

“As per the Fourth Delhi Finance Commission, Rs 6,500 crore have to be released to all three corporations annually - Rs 2,100 crore per annum to the East Corporation to make it self-reliant.”

Both the East and North Corporations are in the red. The East Delhi Municipal Corporation requires over Rs 100 crore a month to pay salaries and other benefits to its over 32,000 employees.

Even the North Corporation needs Rs 171 crore to pay salaries and other benefits to its over 70,000 employees per month.

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