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Delhi east corp to invoke ESMA, as striking cleanliness workers refuse to budge

ESMA, legislated by Parliament of India, was established to ensure the delivery of certain services, which if obstructed would affect the normal life of people.

delhi Updated: Jun 26, 2017 23:37 IST
Abhinav Rajput
Abhinav Rajput
Hindustan Times
EDMC,East Delhi,EMMC strike
Garbage lied unattended on Parwana Road in East Delhi.

The East Delhi Municipal Corporation on Sunday decided to invoke the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) to try and force striking sanitation supervisors to join work. The sanitation supervisors have been on strike for the last four days to demand better pay.

The civic body’s decision to invoke ESMA comes as the sanitation condition in east Delhi started taking a turn for the worse, with garbage strewn around areas like New Ashok Nagar, Vinod Nagar, Radhu Place and Lakshmi Nagar raising a stink .

Most of the areas of east Delhi are densely populated and even a day’s delay in disposal of garbage there can lead to a health threat.

Mayor of East Delhi Municipal Corporation Neema Bhagat said that she had written a letter to Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal to invoke ESMA against the staff as they were not ready to return to duty despite their salary having been realised. She said that she had also assured the workers that their other demands would be looked into.

Around 400 members of the sanitation worker supervisors’ union started their strike in front of the East Delhi Municipal Corporation’s headquarter on Friday demanding promotion and disbursement of salary, which they said was pending for the past two months.

The Mayor said that under Delhi Municipal Corporation Act there are sufficient provisions to terminate the services of protesters if they did not join their duties in the interest of citizens. Even FIRs can be lodged, Bhagat added.

ESMA, legislated by Parliament of India, was established to ensure the delivery of certain services, which if obstructed would affect the normal life of people.

President of the All Municipal Corporation Sanitation Supervisor Union, Mukesh Kumar Vaidya, however, said that salaries had not been credited into their account and they would continue with the strike.

“We are ready to go to jail, but will not end the strike till all our demands are accepted. More than 20 posts of sanitation supervisors are vacant for years,” he said.

A senior official of east corporation said that the civic agency had to invoke ESMA as several efforts to reach an agreement with the protesters through negotiations failed.

He also alleged that the supervisors were resorting to “blackmail”.

Officials said besides going on strike, the union members are also preventing other sanitation workers from doing their duty by not marking their attendance.

“Several meetings with senior functionaries at different levels, including the Mayor of east Delhi, has failed. They are supervisory staff and are not covered under the labour laws, so they cannot go on a strike like this,” the official said.

He added that the strikig workers were also preventing others from working. Hence, the junior sanitation staff had stopped coming to work.

“The East DMC has made all out efforts to sort out financial issues. There are some things that take time,” he said.

First Published: Jun 26, 2017 23:36 IST