A huge demonstration was held by both daily wage as well as permanent safai karamcharis in Doda, Bhaderwah and Kishtwar on Thursday on the fifth consecutive day.
The workers raised slogans demanding release of their salaries in front of the municipal committee office on the Doda Barath road. The protest demonstration passed through several markets and streets in Doda and reached the district development commissioner's office, where they sat on a dharna.
They demanded release of their salaries pending for the past three months and regularisation of safai karamcharis, who have been performing their duties with dedication for the past 12 years. They also demanded enhancement of wages.
When contacted executive officer Municipal Committee, Doda, Mohammad Ashraf Zargar said that we have already sent the case to higher authorities for regularisation, but nothing has been
done so far.
He said: "The government is not considering their services, which they have rendered for the past more then 12 years, but even then we are pleading their case with the department."
The spokesman of the Safai Karamchari Association, Doda, said that during April and May, the authorities of local bodies department as well as the officers of the district administration assured them that their genuine demands would be taken on priority and it was only after the assurances given by the authorities that the dharna and strike was called off, but he added that even after the lapse of five months, the department was not in a mood to solve their genuine problems.
The association members further said that they would stir up their protest and dharna if the demands were not fulfilled without any further delay.A similar protest and dharna was held in Bhaderwah and Kishtwar area of Chenab valley region.
The association members alleged that funds were being utilised for construction works and officers and employees were deriving personal benefits from these funds instead of releasing the salaries of the safai karamcharis.
Locals on the other hand rued that owing to the strike call given by the safai karamcharis, the streets were filled with garbage. The general public has criticised the administration for their indifferent attitude towards the employees. It is also said that the employees may launch an indefinite strike if the demands were not following which there was every possibility of spreading of diseases owing to unhygienic conditions.