Unruly scenes were witnessed outside Circuit House here on Thursday as around 200 Class-4 workers protested when local MLAs arrived to attend a meeting for allotment of grants for development. Protesting workers raised slogans against the leaders and even used abusive language.
The workers led by Chandan Grewal, president of Punjab Union Workers Association; and Pawan Baba, president, Punjab Sewermen Employees Union; gathered at the entrance to Circuit House and created a ruckus.
The protest was called at a time when Manvesh Singh Sidhu, special principal secretary to deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, was in the city to hold discussions with the deputy commissioner, MLAs from Doaba and MC officials regarding allocating grants for development projects.
The high-level meeting that lasted for five hours was attended by chief parliamentary secretary KD Bhandari, Jalandhar central MLA Manoranjan Kalia, BJP leader Mohinder Bhagat, Jalandhar Cantonment MLA Pargat Singh, SAD MLA and chief parliamentary secretary Avinash Chander, SAD MLA from Kartarpur Sarwan Singh Phillaur, Shahkot MLA Ajit Singh Kohar, SAD MLA from Nakodar Gurpartap Singh Wadala, SAD MLA and chief parliamentary secretary Pawan Kumar Tinu, mayor Sunil Jyoti and municipal commissioner GS Khaira.
During the agitation, the workers targeted KD Bhandari for allegedly turning a deaf ear to their plight.
Pawan Baba said, “I request all workers present here to vote only for the representative of our community who understands our plight, in the 2017 elections.” One of the workers who sat on dharna said, “We put our life at risk every day but the government has no arrangement in place for us and is waiting for us to die so that our families get a compensation of Rs 10 lakh.” Even after the municipal commissioner assured the workers to hold talks with them, they continued to protest.
Later, a meeting was held among Manvesh Singh Sidhu, KD Bhandari, Sunil Jyoti, GS Khaira and the union leaders, who put forth the demands of regularising sewermen, increasing their minimum wages and abolishing the system of privatisation.
“Though the MC officials have been conducting meetings on Smart City, they have never cared about our demands,” said Chandan Grewal. Sidhu assured the union members that he would take up the matter with the deputy chief minister. Khaira also asked the union members to shortlist their demands so that these could be addressed on priority.