Patna HC asks municipal workers to end strike, tells govt to fulfil demands in 8 weeks
A division bench of Patna high court (HC) led by chief justice Sanjay Karol Tuesday asked agitating sanitation workers of municipal bodies to end their indefinite strike, and directed the state government to fulfil their demands within eight weeks.
Sanitation workers of Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) and other civic bodies have been on strike since September 7 in support of their 12-point demands, including regularisation of job, substantial hike in monthly remuneration, introduction of provident fund facility, financial benefits as per the recommendation of 7th pay commission etc.
Nearly 40,000 workers across the state were on strike called by Bihar Local Bodies Karmchari Sanyukt Sangharsh Morcha (BLBKSSM), which also asked for removal of anomalies in scales of regular fourth grade employees and discontinuance of fashion to keep outsourced employees.
The HC bench, also comprising Justice S Kumar, directed the striking employees to end the strike forthwith.
BLBKSSM president Chandra Prakash Singh said that they would take the decision to end the strike after going through the court’s order. “We will maintain the status quo till then,” said Singh.
During the hearing, advocate general (AG) Lalit Kishore told the court that the state government would consider the striking employees’ grievances, and an appropriate decision would be taken in the stipulated time frame. He, however, added that outsourcing, if required, was the government’s right and the PMC was free to hire staff on outsourcing as and when necessary. “However, existing employees would not be affected due to outsourcing,” said Kishore.
The AG also said that the striking employees, who were ousted from job due to defiance of the order, would be rehired. “However, those facing other penal charges would be dealt with in accordance with the law,” Kishore told the court.
Even as the Patna HC had rescheduled the hearing of case of striking employees for Tuesday, principal secretary of urban development department (UDD) on Monday issued a statement saying that there was no impact of the strike on cleanliness drive in more than 70% urban areas.
Contrary to the claims of departmental officers, heaps of garbage laid strewn on the roadside and in various lanes and by-lanes. “Officials are misleading the court, as door-to-door collection of household waste has been discontinued for the past couple of weeks,” said Anuj Kumar, a Patna resident.
A staff member of the PMC said that around 6,000 tonnes of waste was dumped near the roadside in Patna due to the strike. “Patna usually generates around 800-900 tonnes of waste on a daily basis,” he said.