With the strike by sanitation workers entering Day 7 on Tuesday, there seemed to be no end to the 'stinking' plight of the people in the city.
For the second day, a group of workers sat on a chain hunger strike. The workers also burnt an effigy of local bodies minister Anil Joshi outside the office of the municipal corporation before sitting on the dharna.
Earlier in the day, the agitators forced all officials of the corporation to lock their offices and join them on the dharna. After the effigy was burnt, the officers and clerical staff were allowed to continue their work.
On the seventh consecutive day, the garbage was not lifted in the town, giving the city a dirty look. All the garbage dumps, authorised and unauthorised, were full of garbage with stray dogs and animals having a field day scanning the heaps of refuse for food picks.
Over 300 'safai' workers of the MC have been on a strike since January 15 demanding the scrapping of the solid waste management project, for which the MC had engaged JITF Ecopolis by making a special cluster of 27 civic bodies for solid waste disposal.
About the project
In the first phase of the project, JITF Ecopolis was to start door-to-door garbage collection and had acquired the entire infrastructure to start operations. Under the project, garbage would be lifted from dustbins and taken to garbage dumping points in GPS-enabled vehicles. All these facilities were to be provided at the cost ranging from `20 to `60 per month from each house, depending upon the plot size of the house.
After successful implementation of the door-to-door collection and disposal at specific dumping sites, a solid waste processing unit was proposed to be installed at village Jamsher in the second phase,.
What is the workers' apprehension?
The workers apprehend that after the implementation of the project, many of them might lose their jobs. Moreover, a heavy amount is being paid to the private company by setting aside the rights of workers already doing this work. They want the government to handle the project. The private company would not be allowed to play with the careers of sweepers, says Chandan Garewal, the union leader
What local legislator says
Modernisation of the system is the need of the hour. Strike is not a solution to any problem. If workers are having any grievance, they should sit across the table for talks with their apprehensions and suggestions. No one should be allowed to hold to ransom for their demands. We are taking up this matter with the deputy chief minister on Wednesday morning.
Pargat Singh, SAD MLA from Cantonment
The strike is highly unfortunate, due to which city people are suffering a lot. We are trying to get the issues resolved. Several rounds of meetings have been held with the agitating leaders but they are demanding scrapping of the project altogether, which seems impossible at present.
KD Bhandari, Chief Parliamentary Secretary and Jalandhar North MLA
The garbage heap outside our house has made our life miserable. Several complaints have been made to the authorities concerned to get it removed, but to no results.
Anita Walia, a loc al resident Our businesses are suffering due to garbage dumps and foul smell emerging from the dumps. We cannot sit facing roads in our shops even. Customers are avoiding coming here.
Sukhdev Raj, a businessman
Dumps are increasingly becoming as nursery for mosquitoes and flies. We are living under the danger of spread of epidemics all the time.
Neetu Rani, a local
It is a complete failure of the system. For the first time, I have seen lack of political willpower among those who are at the helm of affairs. Nobody is worried about the plight of the people.
Prem Saini, a businessman