Shortage of sanitation workers taking toll on P’kula’s cleanliness

  • Vinod Kumar, Hindustan Times, Panchkula
  • Updated: Jun 10, 2015 09:39 IST

The Panchkula municipal corporation (MC) is struggling to maintain proper sanitation in the city. For a population of 5.6 lakh and 1.16 lakh households, there are only 515 sanitation workers against the sanctioned strength of 990.

As per the Haryana government norms, sanitation workers are to be deployed on the basis of population and size of an area and there should be one sanitary worker for every 400 residents. However, due to staff shortage these norms are not being followed, taking a toll on city's cleanliness.

As per the MC record, Sector 2 has 33 sanitation workers, which is highest in the city, followed by Sector 15 with 30 workers. MDC Sector 5, Sector 9, Sector 10 and Sector 14 have 21 people each for cleanliness. Sector 26 and Khadak Mangoli have just eight workers each, while only six workers have been deployed in Saketri, the lowest in the city.

Dwindling number

Last year, the local administration pulled out 250 daily wagers from duty due to technical issue with their appointment, resulting in further depletion of sanitation workers’ strength. “Some of the available staff is being employed for other works, depleting the number further,” said councillor of the ward number 9 Chander Bhan Goel, adding that garbage was not lifted on a daily basis.

Goel said the authorities had withdrawn sweepers from all the sectors instead of increasing the number. Moreover, most of the sanitation workers do not show up for work on a regular basis.

Grappling with unsanitary conditions

“Keeping the city clean has become a major challenge and councillors have to chase the workers to get their areas cleaned,” Goel added.

“A random survey in any sector will reveal that sanitation workers do not come to work regularly. However, they are always marked present in the attendance register,” said president of the Lok Saravhitkari Society Rakesh Aggarwal.

To tackle the problem, Lok Saravhitkari Society has demanded that all the resident welfare associations (RWAs) should be authorised to check and sign the attendance register of the sanitation workers deployed in their respective areas.

Accepting the shortcoming, deputy mayor Sunil Talwar said at present they were struggling to keep the city clean due to staff shortage. He further added that they had written to the local administration to fill up the vacant posts at the earliest.

Villages worst affected

The villages under the MC control are the worst hit by the shortage of sanitation workers. In almost all the villages, not even a single worker has been deployed.

Lashing out at the civic body, Salim Khan, councilor of the ward number 20, having 20 villages, said the authorities had turned a blind eye towards villages. “You will find garbage, animal faeces and dirt that emits foul smell in all the villages. The situation worsens during monsoons,” said Khan. “I have written to the MC commissioner for resolving the problem,” he added. He has also threatened to stage agitation if authorities fail to address the issue.

Fact file:

City’s total population 5.61 lakh

Total households 1.16 lakh

Total No. of sanitation workers 515

Sanctioned posts 990

As per norms, there should be one sanitary worker for every 400 residents

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