Messy affair: Strike to continue as talks between Chandigarh MC, unions fail
The protesters finally met MC commissioner Kamal Kishore Yadav, but the talks bore no fruitUpdated: Oct 24, 2020, 23:52 IST
Talks between the Chandigarh municipal corporation and protesting sanitation workers and door-to-door garbage collectors failed, affecting cleanliness across the City Beautiful on Saturday.
Garbage collectors, who went on strike on Saturday, sat on a dharna outside the MC office in Sector 17. Members of the Safai Karamchari Union, who had started their indefinite strike on Friday, were also present there.
The protesters finally met MC commissioner Kamal Kishore Yadav, but the talks bore no fruit.
While sanitation workers are up in arms against wearing GPS-enabled smart watches that will keep a check on their location during work hours, the household garbage collectors are opposing the MC’s plan to take over door-to-door lifting of waste.
After the talks, Yadav said: “On their opposition to smart watches, I told them that these decisions have been taken by the MC General House, and it is not in my power to roll them back. We are trying to reason with the protesters and hope to resolve the issue soon.”
Om Prakash Saini, who is the chairman of the Door-to-Door Garbage Collectors Society, said: “As the commissioner himself said he can’t fulfil our demands, we will continue to protest till we get heard by the House. We have asked a few councillors to raise this issue as an urgent House agenda.”
Krishan Kumar Chadha, president of the Safai Karamchari Union, said: “If our demands aren’t met, we are prepared to stay on strike for as long as it is needed.”
While the protesters will again sit on dharna outside the MC office on Monday, garbage collection will completely stop from Sunday, said Saini, adding that the situation will only worsen after Dussehra.
Heaps of garbage along roads
The garbage collecters’ strike on Saturday drew a mixed response on Saturday. While residents in areas such as Sectors 21, 33, 34, 37, 38 and 45 reported that garbage collectors had not turned up, those in Sectors 32, 40, 48, 49 and 61 reported normal services.
However, sanitation workers remained absent, leading to heaps of garbage on roads, streets as well as markets.
Baljinder Bittu, chairman, Federation of Sector Welfare Associations Chandigarh (FOSWAC), who lives in Sector 21, said residents have already started throwing their garbage in open spaces.
Kuljinder Sra, general secretary, Sector 33B RWA, said: “The ground next to Tender Heart School has been turned into a dump. Such a sight and stench are most unwelcome around the festive season.”
Hitesh Puri, chairman of Chandigarh Resident Association Welfare Federation (CRAWFED), said: “Residents have had enough of the MC’s inability to deal with the issue. We will hold a meeting on November 1, and are ready to boycott the MC, if needed.”
Deputy mayor Jagtar Singh Jagga said: “The MC is committed to resolve the issue as soon as possible. With the danger of diseases such as malaria and dengue lurking, garbage collection cannot be allowed to remain affected. We hope to work out an amicable solution.”