The state-level leader of the Safai Sewak Union, Satpal Anjan, who had been sitting on hunger strike for the past 15 days in favour of demands of the sweepers, called off his strike on Thursday evening.
Agriculture minister Tota Singh, local MLA Joginder Pal Jain and senior leaders of the municipal workers unions were present on the occasion.
The 31-day-old strike by sweepers of the Moga municipal corporation had created a sanitation problem across the town. Due to the strike, the entire town has turned into a garbage dump. Heaps of garbage on all sides welcome visitors to the town. Garbage heaps, overflowing sewers, foul smell all over and stray animals at every nook and corner are a common sight.
Addressing the gathering, Tota Singh said the government was sincere in meeting the genuine demands of the sweeper unions. "Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal has assured that the charter of eight demands which was provided by various unions to officials of the local bodies department in Chandigarh will be fulfilled soon. Therefore, there was no need to continue the strike as owing to the strike by municipal workers the town had become a garbage dump. I hope the deadlock is over and the situation will never arise in Moga again."
Vipan Handa, president of the municipal employees' federation, welcomed the decision of the state government, saying the unions were cooperating with the officials of the local bodies department, but unfortunately they were trying to sabotage the agitation by the sweepers. "I hope that as per the assurance by the agriculture minister, all demands of sweepers will be met," he said.
Other leaders of the municipal workers' unions said sweepers had a long list of complaints and demands.
"Our main demands include the abolition of the contract system and regularisation of sweepers and sewermen appointed on contract, withdrawal of the notification of transfer of sweepers, and pension to the employees appointed after 2004," said Handa.