Municipal employees of Delhi temporarily called off a 13-day strike on Monday after the high court intervened to end the standoff with the government but a section of sanitation workers refused to budge, potentially lengthening the capital city’s civic woes.
The agitation over alleged delay in payment of salaries had pitted the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) against the BJP, which controls the city’s civic agencies and left garbage piling up by the capital’s streets besides crippling healthcare and education.
A joint front of municipal workers representing 38 unions agreed to end the agitation after the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) informed the court on Monday that it had released January salaries for all employees. The unions will take a final decision on their course of action after the next high court hearing on Wednesday.
“We never wanted to cause any inconvenience to the people and have decided to carry out our daily duties to ensure the same,” said Rajesh Mishra, president of the United Front of MCD Employees.
Authorities said the collection and disposal of garbage will be the first priority of the municipal corporation as more than 40,000 ton of waste is estimated to have piled up along major stretches in north and east Delhi.
The breakthrough came two days after a big chunk of teachers, engineers and administration staff had called off their stir. Doctors and paramedics had ended their strike earlier on Friday.
“All the safai karamcharis are calling off the strike and will resume work immediately...We will monitor this petition (for further hearing on arrears issue),” the HC said after workers raised the demand for payment of arrears such as dearness allowance and other such prerequisites.
A section of sanitation workers, mostly from east Delhi, however, said they will continue the strike alleging that the bailout by the Delhi government is still conditional.
“We will continue the strike and will lead a protest against the Delhi government on Tuesday. We are against the conditional loan provided by the Arvind Kejriwal government, which suggests that contractual employees must be done away with,” said Sanjay Gehlot, president of the Swatantra Mazdoor Vikas Sanyukt Morcha.
The AAP government has maintained that it gave adequate funds to the civic bodies and blamed financial mismanagement and graft in the BJP-run municipal corporations for the crisis.
The BJP, however, accused the AAP of mismanaging funds and plunging the city into crisis.
The relief came after a bench of chief justice G Rohini and justice Jayant Nath said it would hear on issues concerning the arrears of MCD sanitation workers on Wednesday.
During the day, Delhi mayors also met Union home minister Rajnath Singh and sought his intervention in getting their “rightful” share of funds under Delhi Finance Commission recommendations from the AAP government.
The mayors apprised the home minister of the prevailing situation and asked him to ensure that Delhi government releases “around Rs 3,000 crore under 3rd DFC and implements 4th DFC without further delay,” said East Delhi mayor Harshdeep Malhotra.