December 26, 2020 2:41:21 am
A strike by Delhi Jal Board (DJB) contractors, who took 100 water tankers off the road this month, caused only a minor disruption in water supply in parts of the city, DJB officials said.
The strike started around December 1 and ended largely on Thursday through the intervention of the Delhi High Court. Around 20 tankers were still off the road as on Friday and were being persuaded to return to work by the DJB, officials said.
On Thursday, BJP leaders, including Delhi unit chief Adesh Gupta and nearly a hundred people, protested outside the DJB headquarters at Jhandewalan against a “tanker scam”. Later, the DJB headquarters was vandalised, allegedly by the same group, following which BJP and AAP blamed each other for the violence.
On Thursday, Gupta had raised the issue on Twitter, claiming that water supply through tankers had stopped for the past 24 days, affecting people in parts of the city.
DJB officials denied the charge. “We have about 1,100 to 1,200 water tankers out of which around 100 private contractual tankers went on strike. We plugged this gap by re-routing tankers from areas with low requirement of water to areas of high requirement,” a senior official said.
“We also deployed tankers that we keep for emergency use. However, there were disruptions and some pockets where a tanker would go once every two days were getting water once every three days. Similarly, places where a tanker goes once every three days were getting it once every four days. It is incorrect to state that for 20-24 days water has not been supplied,” the official added.
The strike, officials said, also coincided with the farmers’ protest at Delhi’s borders. The Delhi government is providing water tankers to the protest sites as well. However, DJB officials denied that this further impacted their water supply. “We also engaged more private tankers during the time of the strike,” another DJB official said.
The contractors had called the strike as they wanted an increase in payment. According to officials, the Delhi High Court, while hearing the matter on Wednesday, asked an arbitrator to settle the dispute.
Meanwhile, DJB vice-chairman and AAP leader Raghav Chadha Friday filed a complaint at the Desh Bandhu Gupta Road police station, seeking action against Gupta and party members Yogendra Chandoliya, Ravi Tanwar, Vikas Tanwar and “other unidentified BJP workers”.
“A case has been registered under IPC section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) and sections of Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act,” a Delhi Police spokesperson said.
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