The Delhi High Court on Wednesday said that the location and time-wise work roster, as well as identity of each safai karamchari working under civic bodies, should be put up on their website and at the site which a worker is assigned. A division bench of acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C. Hari Shankar also said that no safai karamchari could take wages for work not done. The bench directed the Commissioners of North, South and East civic bodies of the national capital to monitor the attendance of the safai karamcharis. It also asked them to frame a proposal for ensuring they discharged their duties. The bench, underlining that the corporations had “huge manpower” of safai karamcharis, said: “Payment be made only against work actually done. No one takes wages for work not done. Culture of not discharging your duties has to go.” The East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) told the court it has 15,000 safai karamcharis, North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) has 26,000, while South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) said it has 23,000 workers. Taking note of the data, the court said: “Despite this Delhi was being smothered under garbage and sewage.”
The court also said that corporations should take action against those who litter or allow garbage to accumulate in the city. The bench asked corporations to create public awareness regarding collection and disposal of waste. Noting that there was no nodal agency for coordination among the three civic bodies on the issue, the court appointed the Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA) as the nodal body, to be assisted by the Deputy Commissioners of corporations as well as experts nominated by the central government and the New Delhi Municipal Council. The panel, which also includes environmentalists M.C. Mehta, Sunita Narain and Almitra Patel, was asked by the court to submit its report on the design and programme as well as the publicity material within four weeks.
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The Delhi government also told the court that it would get only Rs 325 crore from the Centre despite generating over Rs 91,000 crore in tax revenue.On the other hand, the civic bodies said they were not getting sufficient funds from the Delhi government as it was not implementing the Fourth Finance Commission report. The Delhi government said under the Swachh Bharat programme, the Centre had released Rs 104 crore to the civic bodies and the Delhi government released Rs 35 crore to them under the same scheme. When the court asked civic bodies where the money had gone, they said that these funds were lying unutilised, due to which the central government was not disbursing more money. According to the civic bodies, under the scheme, for every Rs 100, 35 per cent comes from the Centre and the Delhi government and the rest has to be generated by them.
The high court had taken suo motu cognizance of an ABP News channel’s report highlighting lacunae in the manner in which the East Delhi Municipal Corporation is doing garbage collection in the areas under its jurisdiction. The court had asked the channel to conduct random inspection of garbage removal and disposal in Delhi and submit a report. The high court has also been hearing public interest litigations claiming that both government and civic agencies had not taken preventive steps against vector-borne diseases such as chikungunya and dengue. Previously, the government and civic bodies had told the court that they had taken all steps to prevent these diseases.