The National Green Tribunal on Thursday said salaries of sanitation workers in Delhi should be paid on time and sought a comprehensive report by Friday on the amount allocated as budget for their salaries.
Nearly 20,000 sanitation workers of East Delhi Municipal Corporation are on strike for the past eight days over non-payment of salaries and arrears, leading a major civic crisis with garbage piling up on streets across east Delhi.
A bench, headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar, rapped the Delhi government and the municipal corporations over the garbage mess in the city and said that “people are suffering due to tussle between government and corporation”.
“The salaries to employees should be paid on time without delay and default... Let everybody wake up now, enough is enough. Tomorrow all the officers should be present and file appropriate answers duly supported by records,” the bench said on Thursday.
The green court also directed the Delhi government to place on record the order of Delhi High Court which asked the authorities to remove the garbage in the trans-Yamuna area.
The tribunal on Wednesday had asked all authorities on what can be done to boost the sanitation services in east Delhi so that such collapse of the garbage management mechanism could be avoided in the future.
“What measures can be taken in order to secure that such a situation doesn’t take place in the future?” the bench had asked the Union environment ministry, the ministry of urban development, the AAP government in Delhi, the East Delhi Municipal Corporation and workers’ union representatives.
Since 2015, east corporation sanitation workers have gone on strike five times over non-payment of salary. This time, it’s over non-payment of their November and December salaries. Though the Delhi government has released Rs 119 crore to the civic body, workers say it is not enough for paying even one month salary.
The tribunal had earlier on Tuesday issued notices to all the stakeholders, asking them what steps have been taken to remove waste from the streets.
The east Delhi areas that have been hit the most are Laxmi Nagar, Preet Vihar, Krishna Nagar, New Ashok Nagar, Vinod Nagar, Khichripur and other adjoining areas. Huge piles of garbage are lying outside these colonies with sanitation workers refusing to pick the garbage until their salaries are paid. In East Delhi, around 2500 metric tonnes of garbage is generated every day.
The NGT had earlier directed all municipal authorities to draw up “an integrated waste management plan for Delhi, identify landfill sites and improve condition of existing sites,” among other issues.