The 17-day-old strike by sweepers here has turned the entire city into a garbage dump. Heaps of refuse, overflowing sewers, foul smell all over and stray animals at every nook and corner of the city are a common sight.
Residents are aggravating the situation as they are dumping garbage at every vacant space available. Worst affected are the city markets and public places. Despite the pathetic condition of the city, there is no move by the government to end the strike.
When the issue was raised with chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, during his visit in the district to participate in the function organised to mark the 29th death anniversary of Sant Harchand Singh Longowal, the chief minister said, "the government was ready for talks, but it was not possible to accept every demand of the agitators."
The protesting sweepers have a long list of complaints and demands. Their main demands include the abolition of the contract system and regularization of the sweepers and sewer men appointed on contract, withdrawal of the notification of transfer of sweepers and pension to the employees appointed after 2004.
Talking to Hindustan Times, Balkishan Chauhan, vice- president and district chairman of the Safai Majdoor union alleged that contractual employees do not get salary on time. "Sometimes, they have to wait for more than six months for salaries."