As safai karamcharis in the district and elsewhere in the state have been on an indefinite strike for about 25 days, sanitation has emerged as a serious problem with the passing of each day as the strike is getting prolonged and there seems to be no early end to it.
People seem to be fed up with the strike and heaps of garbage at various places. A possible clash was averted between residents of Jaitu town of the district a week ago and safai karamcharis when some locals had tried to sweep the streets themselves.
The situation is set to worsen if the strike continues as the garbage at many places, including plastic bags are falling in sewerage channels and they may get choked completely in coming days.
While employees are trying to justify their demands, the locals mostly do not agree with the way they are lodging their protest.
"Safai karamcharis must realise the problems of the people who are in no way responsible for anything. They should try to find out some other way to express their grievances so that people do not have to face problems. The government should also be sensitive to such issues where lakhs of people are put to inconveneince," said Baljeet Singh Kheeva, running a computer centre in Kotkapura.
"The health and sanitation issues should be dealt on a priority basis by the government. The unclean cities may lead to the spread of many diseases. The employees on strike should also adopt some middle path and hold protest for some limited hours in the day after doing their duty," said Aruna Randev, former professor of music in Government Shaheed Bhagat Singh College, Kotkapura.
"Our demands are genuine, but the government has not responded so far. We want the regularisation of our irregular employees, new recruitment of the employees for the solid waste management, end to the contract system and stopping transfer of the staff," said Avinash Chouhan, vice-president of the Safai Karamchari Union, Kotkapura.
"We are seized of the matter. We have talked to the employees besides taking it up with the government. Everything is being done to resolve the issue as soon as possible," said Mohammad Tayyab, deputy commissioner, Faridkot.