Striking garbage collectors to return to work in Chandigarh
The garbage woes of Chandigarh residents are expected to get over for now, as different groups of door-to-door waste collectors on Friday decided to resume work from Saturday.
The decision came after a meeting between garbage collectors and municipal officials on Friday. However, the relief might be temporary as a section is still opposing the civic body’s takeover of waste collection and has threatened to go on strike again from next week if their demands are not met.
The municipal corporation last month took over garbage collection in Sectors 1 to 30, with the launch of segregated waste project, which has not gone down well with informal cart-based collectors, especially those affiliated to Akhil Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangathan (ABMS). They stopped picking up garbage from houses in other sectors (where the MC has not yet extended the project), causing the waste to pile up at homes and on the streets.
Om Prakash Saini, chairman, Chandigarh Door-to-Door Garbage Collectors’ Society that claims to represent 80% of the informal sector, said: “MC officials have accepted all our key demands. The civic body will deposit user charges collected from people in garbage collectors’ accounts every month. We will also be allowed to pick reusable items from garbage.”
However, Shamsher Lohatiya, president of the local unit of ABMS, said: “The meeting with MC officials was inconclusive and fruitless. Our principle demand still stands. Door-to-door garbage collectors should be allowed to continue with their work, and the MC should roll back the takeover.”
11-member panel to discuss demands: Mayor
A delegation, including ABMS representatives, also met mayor Ravi Kant Sharma and handed over a memorandum of their demands.
The mayor said that an 11-member committee will be constituted, comprising six MC officials and five representatives of waste collectors. He said a meeting will be called within four days to deliberate upon and take a decision on the demands.
“We have also been assured that our meeting will be held with MC commissioner KK Yadav next week. Meanwhile, some of us will continue to sit on dharna,” said Lohatiya, while threatening to go back on strike if all demands are not met.
Congress councillor and leader of opposition Devinder Singh Babla, in a letter to the mayor, has also called for continuation of the old system. “Till the time the whole system is not rectified, the old system should be implemented, and people who used to collect garbage earlier should be allowed to continue,” he said.
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