The much awaited solid waste management project, which was about to start from this month by the municipal corporation(MC), has been postponed, at-least for a month, due to threats of protests by different safai mazdur unions and their fresh demands.
Minister of local bodies Chunni Lal Bhagat and principal secretary Ashok Gupta met the union leaders on Sunday in the presence of MCJ commissioner Vinay Bublani, mayor Sunil Jyoti, additional deputy commissioner of police Navjot Singh Mahal and other senior officials of the MC to discuss the demands of the unions.
The leaders, who earlier agreed to allow to start the work after MCJ's assurance of accepting their demands, took a U-turn on the issue and in the meeting they reportedly demanded cancellation of the project allotted to JITF ecopolis by the MCJ.
A series of meetings with the union leaders and the MCJ officials to find out solution proved futile . Deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, during a meeting with the union leaders on August 9 in Chandigarh, had reportedly told the that the state government was determined to start this project
"The door to door collection will be conducted by the safai sewaks and the MCJ employees will take up the garbage to the dumping point at Waryana. The company can start the work of garbage disposal thereafter," said Chandan Grewal, the union leader.
"We have agreed to the major demands of the union leaders such as restoration of pension scheme, increase in leave from 180 days to 300 days, restoration of gratuity and introduction of ex-gratia scheme for the safai-sewaks after consulting with senior officials of the department. But on Sunday they came up with fresh demands. We already have signed an agreement with JITF officials ; we cannot break the contract," mayor Sunil Jyoti said.
"In the previous meetings, they demanded that safai sewaks will carry out door to door collection and JITF people will take the garbage from bins and dump it Waryana. We also pondered over this demand and discussed the probabilities with the company," Jyoti added.
Bhagat said, "On the demands of union leaders, we have decided to take the review of functioning of the project in Ferozepur and Bathinda. We have assured the union leaders that we will consider their demands and within a month we will finalise the next course of action."
The JITF ecopolis was planning to start the work of door to door garbage collection by August 15 in eight wards in the first phase and in more wards by August 25. The company had recruited workers and arranged the machinery.
"We are ready to operate and are waiting MCJ's signal. Hopefully their issues with MCJ would be resolved and we will start the operation soon," a company official said.