Garbage piles up across Gurugram as sanitation workers go on strike
The sanitation workers are protesting against the MCG issuing new tenders to hire fresh agencies for outsourcing the sanitation work
Sanitation workers of the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) have gone on a strike and have stopped sweeping the streets and lifting garbage since the past two days, leaving the city looking unkempt and littered with waste piles in different areas.
The sanitation workers are protesting against the MCG issuing new tenders to hire fresh agencies for outsourcing the sanitation work. The workers’ union has demanded the cancellation of tenders and urged the civic body to employ the sanitation staff already hired by existing agencies.
The union leaders said unless their demands are met, they will not let the new agency start work.
The MCG officials said the workers’ issues will be resolved within two days since six new private agencies have been hired and given work orders on Thursday.
MCG joint commissioner Naresh Kumar said the decision to hire new agencies was taken by the state government. “The sanitation issue has been resolved and the streets will be cleaned and cleared on Friday. New sanitation staff has been assigned by the new contractors and the work has been outsourced. Our team will keep a close watch on sanitation across the city,” he said.
The MCG has outsourced sanitation to private contractors who hire sanitation workers on contract to carry out the work. Sanitation workers said despite being assured that their contracts would be renewed, they ended up being fired. They were given false hopes of regularisation and increments but the new agencies have refused to hire them, they said.
The MCG employees are supporting contractual workers and have stopped cleaning the streets and lifting garbage.
According to officials, 3,400 employees and contractual workers of the MCG are on strike, and have stopped cleaning streets in residential areas and public places. The sanitation staff of MCG are also supporting the union and outsourced workers and have stopped working, said MCG officials.
Naresh Malkat, state secretary of Nagar Palika Karamchari Sangh, said, “Around 3,400 sanitation workers have been affected. They are jobless now and new workers from West Bengal have been hired through new contractors. Each time, the government has given us false promises and has betrayed us. Last time, we had called off the strike after assurances were given by the government,” he said.
The state government had assured the union that it will consider their demands and also agreed to come up with a policy for the regularisation of contractual workers last October.
Ram Singh, president of Nagar Nigam Safai Karamchari Sangh, a sanitation workers’ union, said the government had agreed to put the outsourced staff on the municipal corporation’s payroll. They were given false hope but hiring was done secretly and new players were given the contract.
“We will again protest against the government and will start another strike this week if the situation remains the same. The new workers will not be able to manage sanitation and the government cannot do us an injustice. If warranted, we will start an indefinite hunger strike,” he said.
Residents said because of the strike, garbage is lying strewn about in markets, roads and residential areas, resulting in a foul smell permeating the surrounding areas. The door-to-door garbage collection is done by a concessionaire, while general sanitation and lifting of waste are the responsibility of MCG.
“Sanitation in the city has been erratic since the past one year, and irrespective of the issues that MCG is facing, we deserve clean roads and residential areas. MCG is responsible for sanitation and if they cannot ensure cleanliness, they should allow residents to run the sanitation operations in their respective areas,” said Rajkumar Yadav, president, Sector 46 resident’s welfare association.
Abhay Poona, vice-president of Gurgaon Citizen’s Council (GCC) and Gurgaon Resident Forum, said residents from different parts of the city, including sectors developed by the erstwhile Haryana Urban Development Authority as well as private colonies, are facing sanitation issues.
“The new agency will take time to set up their operations and the garbage situation in residential areas is a concern. Residents have stopped visiting parks as areas are piling up with garbage,troubling them,” he said.