With heaps of trash piling up along East Delhi’s arterial Vikas Marg on Monday morning, the garbage crisis started to affect residents. Though a section of the East Delhi Municipal Corporation’s sanitation workers late on Monday night announced they will return to work, an immediate end to the misery seemed far from over.
The Congress-backed Rashtriya Safai Mazdoor Congress decided to withdraw the strike after senior corporation officials met them. Union president DP Chandel said the EDMC officials agreed to “their demands of regular salary payment, payment of arrears and regularisation of daily wagers hired since 2013”.
But the MCD Swachhta Karamchari Union, which is affiliated to Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh, said it will continue the strike. “We will not call off the strike till we get a written assurance from the senior officials,” said the union president, Sanjay Gehlot.
The sanitation wing of EDMC had called the strike last week to protest against non-payment of salaries since November 2016. Though the Delhi government has released Rs 119 crore to the civic body, workers say it is not enough for even one month.
In the last two years, the EDMC’s cleaning staff has gone on strike seven times, each time to protest delay and non-payment of salaries and arrears. This time, the strike come a couple of months ahead of municipal elections, in which the Aam Aadmi Party will make its full-fledged debut after bagging five out of 13 seats in bypolls last year.
The areas that have been hit the worst are: Laxmi Nagar, Preet Vihar, Krishna Nagar, New Ashok Nagar, Vinod Nagar, Khichripur and other adjoining areas. Heaps of garbage piled up on Monday morning at various places on Vikas Marg.
A group of workers took out a mock ‘funeral’ procession of chief minister Arvind Kejriwal from Shakarpur Chowk to Laxmi Nagar traffic signal, triggering a traffic jam on Vikas Marg.
“We are not happy by troubling commuters and we feel bad for them. But the government is not listening to us and we have no other way to grab their attention,” said Veer Singh Dhigaan, general secretary, Rastriya Safai Mazdoor Congress.
On Tuesday, the workers will protest outside the residences of East Delhi MP Maheish Girri and Delhi Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel.