With the strike of safai karamcharis of the municipal committee entering ninth day on Tuesday, the Kotkapura town is giving the look of a big garbage dump. The municipal committee workers are striking work as a protest against non-release of their salaries for the past three months.
Garbage has started piling up across the town, while in some areas sewage has started flowing on to the streets.
Though the work of garbage collection has been assigned to a private company, but its employees too have stopped work for about a week.
TO put an end to the strike, the civic body released one month's salary to the workers, but they were of the view that they would end the strike only after their entire salary was released.
"We cannot wait for our salary every month. According to the rules, we ought to be paid before the 7th of every month, but we have not been paid for over three months," said Das Ram, who is the chairman of the Safai Karmchari Union, Kotkapura.
"Without salary, we unable to pay the installments of our house loans and school fees of our children. Now, we are not in a position to even buy commodities of daily needs," said Subhash Chander, another safai karamchari.
"We had no option but to go on strike. We have been released the salary of one month, which is not acceptable to us. We want all our dues cleared and only then we will call off the strike," said Avinash Chohan, vice-president of the union.
On the other hand, Kotkapura municipal committee is facing acute shortage of funds, especially after abolition of octroi, which was its main source of the income. The municipality has now the option of selling its properties to meet its routine expenses, it is learnt. The municipality had also got `6-crore loan from the Amritsar improvement trust last year.
"The sewage is overflowing on the streets and there is threat of outbreak of diseases," said Raju, a local.
"On the one side of my shop garbage is piling up and on the other, sewage is overflowing on the road. The water has also damaged the road badly," said a cycle mechanic on the Jaurian Chakkian Wala road.
"One month's salary has been released, but the workers want all dues cleared. I have asked Kotkapura SDM to look into the matter and solve the problem," said Mohammad Tayyab, deputy commissioner, Faridkot.
"I have talked to the safai karamcharis and the private company workers engaged in collecting household waste. The workers will start work from Wednesday," said Harjeet Ssingh Sandhu, Kotkapura SDM, who is the administrator of Kotkapura MC.