Up in arms against Chandigarh Mayor Rajesh Kalia, the safai karamcharis under Chandigarh MC have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, stating that Kalia be removed as the Mayor else they will go on indefinite strike in the city.
“We request that Kalia be removed from the position of the Mayor, else we will have to take an extreme step. If Chandigarh’s sanitation condition deteriorates, Kalia would be entirely responsible for it,” the letter stated.
Responding to the letter, Kalia said, “Their work is to blackmail..they always blackmail. Now, I will see how they go on a protest. Had there been someone else in my place, they would have used some other ploy. However, I am from their community so they won’t be able to use any other method.”
On Thursday, Kalia had a spat with Safai Karamchari Union’s president, Krishan Chadha, where the two allegedly exchanged blows. Kalia was in the middle of a meeting with health wing under MC and medical officers, when Chadha barged into the meeting with other sanitation workers and asked why they were not a part of the meeting. In the process, both entered into an argument and allegedly abused each other and exchanged blows.
In the letter, it was also been specified that the safai karamcharis had extended their supported to Kalia at the time he was to be elected as the Mayor. However, they alleged that now, Kalia was misbehaving with them and was not listening to their demands.
“We, sanitation workers, do not have anything- neither the rehris nor other material. How can we carry out work in a proper and organised manner, when the civic body has not provided us the equipment and facilities to do so,” Krishan Kumar Chadha, the president of the union said.
Chadha stated that if no action was taken against the Mayor, they will go on a strike and no garbage would be collected in the city.
Satish Kainth, Congress councillor who fought against Kalia in the Mayoral polls, said he extends his complete support to the sanitation workers.
Kainth stated that he will be going to meet Commissioner MC K K Yadav, along with the sanitation workers, to take forward the issue.
“I completely support them. When he wasn’t the Mayor, he spoke to them very politely. The moment he became the Mayor, he misbehaved with them. Even a minister doesn’t behave like this with a common man if he comes to his office. These people are from our own community,” Kainth said.
The councillor added, “I will support them not because they are from my community but because this shouldn’t happen with a common man.” On Thursday, Kalia convened a meeting of sanitation wing regarding 625 sweepers, who were found absent in the duty hours. He submitted a complaint to the local police regarding the same. Kalia alleged that he was threatened and abused by Chadha, who entered the meeting premises without anyone’s permission. The Mayor stated that Chadha, along with other sanitary workers, came to the meeting, as they were conveyed by some officials that Kalia was talking of giving a red entry to workers who remained absent from work.
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