MC’s surprise inspections trigger protests in Ludhiana
Members of Valmiki Samaj and sanitation staff have alleged that the municipal corporation was harassing them by conducting surprise inspections to verify the presence of sweepers and sewer cleaners in the field. The civic body had taken up the practice to check absenteeism.
Members of the Samooh Valmiki Samaj staged a protest against zonal commissioner Swati Tiwana at the Zone B office of the MC on Friday. Accusing officials of harassing Class 4 employees, protesters handed hunters and sticks to Tiwana saying that the MC’s harassment harkened the olden system where employees were beaten up by their masters.
However, officials said the protest was organised to pressure officials involved in the cross-checking process. Recently, show-cause notices were issued to around a dozen employees, including the sanitary inspectors and a chief sanitary inspector.
A heated argument ensued between Tiwana and the protesters. One of the officials, requesting anonymity, said a few of protesters told Tiwana that the supervisors take money from the sanitation staff to allowing them to remain absent from duty.
Vipan Kalyan, who was leading the protesters, said, “MC officials are harassing sweepers and sewer cleaners by taking untimely attendance. Cross-checking is being carried out by officials from different branches of the MC who do not understand the working of the health branch. Further, contractual employees are also forced to work at the homes of councillors. Despite that show-cause notices have been issued to employees.”
Tiwana, however, said,”Councillors and MLAs have been complaining that MC employees are absent from duty . Officials working in other branches of the MC are also a part of the civic body and can be deputed to keep a check on employees. No one is being harassed. Employees are only being asked to perform their duty.”
The issue of absenteeism has been raised in the MC time and again. Authorities have been unable to find a solution for the same due to the mafia in the unorganised sector. Last year, the MC had proposed GPS watches for sanitation staff to check their movement, but the proposal could not be implemented.