Protesting sanitation workers locked the East Delhi Municipal Corporation’s locked refuse removal (RR) depot of the civic body in Jhilmil area, preventing trucks from dumping garbage at Ghazipur landfill site.
The workshop is used for parking hundreds of trucks and loaders that lift garbage from the residential areas across east Delhi.
“There are 110 trucks and 30 loaders parked inside the complex. They belong to EDMC as well as private concessionaire. We are not letting them go outside this place to pick garbage. Unfortunately, we have no other choice. This is the only way to attract the attention of the government,” said Rajesh Kumar, a sanitation worker.
Sanitation workers also wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, lieutenant governor Anil Baijal and chief minister Arvind Kejriwal sharing the existing crisis in corporation.
“We are talking about Swachh Bharat but not the safai karamcharis who work in worst circumstances. We have not been given new uniforms for 20 years. We are asked to work with minimum equipment. We often lift the garbage and filth with our hands just to keep this city clean,” said DP Chandel, president of Rastriya Safai Majdoor Congress.
According to workers, the state government, Centre and the corporation never felt the need to talk about the need for issuing cashless medical cards to sanitation workers.
“We catch diseases easily because we work in unhygienic conditions. But we have no money to afford good medical treatment. We are struggling to make ends meet and have been facing the worst financial crunch,” said Sudesh, president of women wing of Rastriya Safai Majdoor Congress.
Amid the ongoing confusion, residents in east Delhi are praying for the situation to get better soon. It’s just been two days and they have already started feeling the impact.
“The garbage has not been lifted from dhalaos for the last two days. They are overflowing and stinking. One of them is located close to the boundary wall of my house and it has become difficult to live here,” said Amit Grewal, resident of Jhilmil area.
East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) generates an average 2,200 metric tonnes of garbage on a daily basis.
On Friday, citizens also voiced their anger against the authority. In a bid to draw attention to their woes, the MCD workers had dumped garbage at traffic intersections, last year. Residents are afraid that same situation may get repeated this year also.
“Heaps of garbage was lying on the roads for over a week and residents had to go through a harrowing time due to stink in the air. It resulted in huge traffic jams and raised health concerns also. I don’t want that thing to get repeated,” said Rajkumar, a resident of Jhilmil.