City residents should brace themselves for a big stink as there will be no door-to-door garbage collection from houses from Thursday onwards.
Private garbage contractors who have hired 5,000 workers for the job have decided to join the ongoing strike by about 4,500 municipal corporation (MC) sanitation workers who are members of the Safai Karamchari Union.
The strike entered its second day on Wednesday with the employees holding firm to their demands, prime among them being regularisation of jobs of 134 workers currently designated as “daily wagers” and hike in salaries up to `10,600. Other demands include jobs to family members of deceased workers on compassionate grounds and promotion of literate workers to clerks.
Due to the strike heaps of garbage have already piled up on city streets and outside the ‘sehaj safai kendras’ (garbage collection-cum-transfer stations) as over 140 garbage trucks have gone off the roads since Tuesday.
MC joint commissioner Rajeev Gupta said the civic body was waiting for the minutes of a meeting held by the UT chief engineer to discuss the proposal on regularisation of sanitation employees’ jobs. “Once we get them we’ll implement the plan but it’ll take some time,” he added.
Meanwhile, Krishan Kumar Chadha, who heads the union, said, “This time we won’t be taken in by their empty promises. The last time also they had promised us the same but till date nothing has been done. From Thursday onwards even private garbage contractors employing door-to-door collectors will be joining us, giving our protest a shot in the arm. Come what may we’ll keep on fighting for our rights.”
Baljinder Singh Bitoo, chairman of the Federation of Sector Welfare Association Chandigarh (FOSWAC), said, “It’s unfortunate the MC doesn’t appear serious about the issue and seems to be waiting for an epidemic to break out in the city."