The Delhi High Court today asked the AAP government to release within three days the arrears of sanitation workers of the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC), who are on indefinite strike since Wednesday. A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar issued notice to the Centre, Delhi government and the EDMC on a plea which has also sought a direction to the authorities to ensure that the workers call off their strike, which started on October 11, and resume work. The court, however, did not give any specific direction on the issue but sought a status report from the authorities concerned. It said the authorities should release the arrears in three days from today, after it was told that inspite of assurances given by the government, their outstanding payment has not been made since 2003. The court was hearing a plea by Rahul Birla, who sought a direction to the government and the EDMC to make immediate payment of the arrears.
Advocate Niraj Gupta, appearing for petitioner, urged the court to direct the EDMC to issue medical cashless cards to its sanitation workers. The plea also sought direction to the authorities to immediately implement the recommendations of the 4th Finance Commission. The plea said earlier too, the workers of all three MCDs had gone on strike in January 2015, October 2015 and January 2016, which had worsened the sanitary conditions in the capital creating an imminent risk of outbreak of diseases.
It said the strike had resulted in accumulation of garbage for a number of days at different places, with stink emanating from garbage dumps, making the lives of the people pathetic and miserable. Scores of the EDMC sanitation workers, who are demanding payment of salaries due to them, clearance of arrears and medical cashless card, went on strike on October 11.
The EDMC, one of the three civic bodies created in 2012 after the trifurcation of the erstwhile unified Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), has been cash-strapped for a long time now.