Prepare to have a garbage-laden Diwali if EDMC sanitation workers are not paid
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Prepare to have a garbage-laden Diwali if EDMC sanitation workers are not paid

They have gone on an indefinite strike this morning, refusing to clear garbage from dhalaos in residential colonies unless they are paid their dues.

Prepare to have a garbage-laden Diwali if EDMC sanitation workers are not paid

Barely 10 days after the Swachhta campaign in the capital, sanitation workers employed by EDMC have gone on strike — again. This seems to be especially badly timed, with Diwali round the corner.

More than 15,000 sanitation workers today refused to resume work, collecting waste dumped in dhalaos of residential colonies, which left many residents with the sinking feeling that the streets would once again be left littered with waste and uncollected garbage. The workers has earlier gone on a similar strike in January to protest non-payment of salaries.

This time, too, they have called an indefinite strike over similar issues — non-payment of salaries, bonus and arrears since 2003.

Mayor of EDMC Neema Bhagat and senior municipal officials met the protesting workers today and tried to convince them to call off the protest, but the two-hour-long meeting did not reach a conclusion.

“We are trying to convince them to resume. However, we know their demands are genuine. We seek their cooperation, so roads and colonies remain clean before Diwali. EDMC has also informed the Delhi government and the lieutenant governor to resolve whatever financial issues they have before the situation goes from bad to worse,” said Bhagat.

On the other hand, the sanitation workers seem adamant.

“This time there will be an indefinite strike until we get all our dues cleared. We are tired of empty promises from the authorities. We have only one question: Why do only sanitation workers fall victim to the authorities’ financial crises, and not other departments of the municipal corporation? We have cooperated enough. We too have families and want a happy Diwali. We assure EDMC that if our dues are paid, we will put in extra hours to clean the roads and colonies,” said Ashok Gehlot, leader of the sanitation staff union in East Delhi.

EDMC commissioner Ranveer Singh said, “I, along with other senior municipal staff, today have met the finance secretary of Delhi, and urged the government to release their dues, and deduct the amount from our annual grant.”

So will Delhi see a clean Diwali or a garbage-strewn one?