Even as Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia hit out at the BJP Saturday for “misappropriating funds provided by the government for salaries of MCD staff”, the BJP expressed shock at the government’s move to bring in alternate staff to clean the streets.
Sisodia also alleged that the BJP is “instigating” workers to throw garbage outside ministers’ residences and offices, and challenged BJP leaders of the civic bodies to make details of their expenditure public. “People of Delhi as well as the sanitation workers are worried and their concerns are justified, but where is the money that the government provided for 12 months salaries?” said Sisodia.
The AAP government Saturday deployed 91 trucks and support staff across the city to sweep the streets as municipal employees continued their protest over unpaid dues. Workers have also opposed the government’s move to bring in additional staff.
As the deadline for the government to act upon their demands ended Saturday, the employees have decided to intensify their strike and extend it indefinitely.
President of the Swatantra Mazdoor Vikas Sanyukt Morcha Sanjay Gehlot — who is leading a group of MCD workers’s unions in their agitation against the government — expressed his disappointment as “no one from the MCD or the government has shown the will to speak to them and address workers’ issues”.
Gehlot also asked why the government could not provide funds to MCD authorities when it could pay for private trucks and more staff.
Safai karamcharis dumped garbage outside the residence of Delhi Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel Saturday and protested outside PWD minister Satyendar Jain’s residence as well. “On Monday, we will gather in large numbers outside DJB minister Kapil Mishra’s house,” said Gehlot.
Since the strike began Wednesday, sanitation workers have held demonstrations outside the Chief Minister’s residence followed by the deputy CM and other members of the cabinet.
Emphasising that this was not the time for settling scores, Gehlot said while the government claims to have given the MCDs their due, the mayors insist that the matter is not in their hands.
Speaking to The Indian Express, North Delhi commissioner P K Gupta said, “All of the corporation’s income is being spent on salaries.”
Meanwhile, Sisodia argued that instead of attacking the AAP, the BJP should ask the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) for its dues.
The DDA owes the three corporations over Rs 1,600 crore in property tax dues. However, as per a letter sent to the corporations by the Union Urban Development ministry in December last year, the DDA is not liable to pay property tax to them by virtue of being “a statutory body established by an act of Parliament”. The DDA and MCDs are contesting the matter in the Delhi High Court.
‘South corporation staff being paid on time, joining strike uncalled for’
The South corporation, however, remains unaffected by the financial troubles being faced by the other two bodies although sanitation workers of the SDMC have joined the strike.
“Certain sections of safai karamcharis of SDMC have stopped working without a valid reason. This unilateral action on part of these employees is uncalled for, untenable and illegal. SDMC employees are paid salaries on time and this dereliction of duty is causing inconvenience to residents,” said the corporation in a statement.