Six months without pay, sanitation workers on strike in Abohar
The indefinite strike by sweepers of Abohar municipal corporation entered the fourth day on Monday and there was overflowing garbage in almost every nook and corner of the town. On Friday, 164 sweepers began an indefinite strike after the civic body failed to pay them salaries over the past six months.
“The civic body work-force has been working without salary for six months now. Authorities are not even trying to address our long-pending demands ,” Mukesh Soni, the leader of the cleaning staff said.
However, it is the looming monsoon that could play havoc and raise a bigger stink, with more than a 100 tonne of garbage that has accumulated over the past three days, said Soni.
The corporation has 164 workers in the garbage and sanitation department. The authorities failed to make a breakthrough and workers are in no mood to relent.
Sources in the civic body said salaries haven’t been paid because the municipal corporation is cash-strapped. After the council was upgraded to a corporation, funds collected in fees now go to the state government.
“Even though on March 2, Captain Amarinder Singh-led Congress government upgraded Abohar municipal council to corporation, no facilities were provided in keeping with the change. Consequently, with taxes and fee collection now going online directly to the state government, Abohar MC has almost become bankrupt,” disclosed Harwinder Singh, a youth Akali leader.
According to Soni, with 35 tonne of garbage generated in Abohar daily, 100 tonne of garbage has accumulated over the last three days. “If the strike continues, it will paralyse cleaning operations. Monsoon can play havoc,” Soni said.
Abohar SDM Poonam Singh has said she is trying to obtain funds from the state government to clear the dues of the sanitation workers.
Meanwhile in a letter to Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh, sanitation workers have sought immediate intervention in the issue.
“We won’t allow authorities to exploit us. We don’t have money to feed our families. Our children are suffering,” the workers said. Since officials have turned a deaf ear to their plight they are left with no option other than to go on strike, they said.