Contractual workers of the Noida authority who have been on strike since Friday reiterated that they will not resume work until the authority meets their demand of crediting their salaries directly to bank accounts and removes the role of middlemen. As a result of the strike, sanitation and garbage disposal in the city has suffered as over 40% of the authority’s 4,200 contractual workers are engaged in sanitation jobs.
Noida generates nearly 500 tonnes of municipal waste every day and the authority spends Rs40 crore a year on sanitation. For the past few days, waste has been lying unattended across the city. The contractual employees blamed what they called the apathy of Noida authority for the present situation.
Mahipal Singh, president, Noida authority employees’ union, said they want the authority to pay them directly through bank accounts.
“We do not want any more harassment by middlemen, who are hand in glove with authority officials and are trying to divide our employees with false assurances,” he said.
He added that they have apologised to residents for the garbage situation and have asked for their help. “We have sought help of city residents to put pressure on the Noida authority to remove the role of third parties and deal with contractual employees directly,” he said.
A total of 1,800 contractual workers are in sanitation jobs that include sweeping internal and external roads, collecting waste from disposal sites and dumping it at the end point daily.
“The heaps of garbage lying unattended across the city are emanating a foul smell and posing a health hazard. The Noida authority is responsible for the strike. We have appealed to the authority to help employees by opening their accounts and transferring their salaries directly,” said NP Singh, president of Federation of residents’ welfare association (Fonrwa).
The association has written to authority to end the strike at earliest.
Dr GC Vaishnav, a senior physician in the city, said, “Accumulation of household waste without treatment is a major source of infection. This not only pollutes the air, but can also contaminate groundwater. The only saving grace is that the temperature is low these days, leaving very little scope for bacteria to survive. But if this (garbage accumulation) continues, it may become hazardous.”
Under pressure from city residents, Pramod Kumar Aggarwal, chief executive officer (CEO), Noida authority, said, “We are in talks with the employees. We do not want the strike to continue. We have appealed to the union to call off the strike.”