Scented diyas and candles fill the air with aromas during the festive season, but East Delhi residents have been forced to cope with garbage stench this Diwali due to a strike by civic sanitation workers. Scores of sanitation workers of the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC), who are demanding payment of their salaries, clearance of arrears and medical cashless card, protested outside the office of Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia as their strike entered its seventh day today.
“We dumped garbage in front of his office in Madhi Vihar area and also burnt his effigy. The honourable (Delhi) High Court has already ticked off the Delhi government for not ensuring the payment of salaries for the sanitation workers. “If authorities do not listen to our demands, we will intensify the stir,” said Sanjay Gehlot, president of the MCD Swachhata Karmchari Union.
Garbage mounted in colonies in Patparganj, Kailash Nagar, Ajit Nagar, among other places, as the air filled with stench. The union had on Monday also claimed that sections of workers from north and south civic bodies have also joined the agitation, but the civic bodies had denied it.
Prior to this, the EDMC sanitation workers had protested outside the residence of East Delhi Mayor Neema Bhagat in Geeta Colony and also burnt her effigy. All three municipal corporations are led by the BJP.
The opposition AAP in the civic bodies had yesterday hit out at the corporations over the issue, even as its leader in the NDMC, Rakesh Kumar, said, “We have urged other workers to not go on strike till Diwali at least, as it is not the fault of people of Delhi but of the civic bodies.” The AAP leader said his colleague Vikas Goyal, a councillor and a member of the standing committee of the NDMC, yesterday tried to raise the issue of sanitation, but the standing committee “did not allow” him to do so.
He even sat on the floor of the House in protest, but to no avail, as people in the ruling party in the corporation are “not serious”, Kumar alleged. “We have even asked for a special House session to be convened to discuss it, but it hasn’t been heeded. We have been trying to meet the L-G for two months, but have not got any response so far. We are with the workers and if needed will join their protest later,” Kumar said.