The impact of the strike by a faction of workers of the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) is being felt from day one itself, as garbage was not picked from several areas in Krishna Nagar, New Ashok Nagar, Laxmi Nagar among other areas.
Residents fear that if the strike continues, it might trigger a health crisis as dhalaos are almost full and garbage will soon start overflowing onto the road. President of the East Delhi RWA joint front, B S Vohra, said, “In Krishna Nagar, I saw several areas where dhalaos are close to capacity now. When I complained, officials told me that even if one faction wants to clean, protesters threaten them.”
This is the third strike this year by sanitation workers over non-payment of salaries as well as issues with regularisation of jobs, insurance and health cards – issues that have been raised by EDMC workers since the trifurcation of MCD in 2012.
President of Delhi Pradesh Swachhta Workers Union Sanjay Gehlot said, “We have decided to continue our strike and will not bow down this time until all our demands are met.” Gehlot said of the 15,000 sanitation workers in EDMC, he has support of 8,000. Corporation officials, however, said he has the support of 3,000 at the most.
The protest might trigger a return of the situation in October 2015 and January 2016, when piles of garbage on roadsides sparked fears of disease.
East Delhi Mayor Neema Bhagat said, “We have paid salaries to the workers and have promised to pay bonus. Now these are blackmailing tactics. They should also understand that the East civic body needs Rs 150 crore for salaries, of which it generates only 70 crore and the remaining is deficit amount every month.” Gehlot responded, “These are false claims. Only some workers got their salary and most have not been paid. They are not even talking about bonus, health cards, etc.”