Delhi Ministers, AAP MLAs and hundreds of party workers today hit the streets to clear the garbage dumps in several areas of the capital as the strike by over 60,000 sanitation workers of BJP-ruled municipal bodies demanding payment of their dues entered the fifth day.
The sanitation workers on their part maintained they will continue with their protest until their “just” demands were met. They warned that the situation in the city may “deteriorate” after the government engaged PWD teams in the cleanliness drive.
AAP legislators and workers joined the PWD taskforce, which has been pressed into action yesterday to shift garbage to landfill sites, particularly in East and North Delhi where the strike has had maximum impact.
Also, more than 2,000 Delhi Jal Board workers teamed up with PWD workers for the cleanliness drive. PWD Minister Satyender Jain held a meeting with North and East MCD commissioners at his residence.
Kejriwal, who is in Bengaluru for naturopathy treatment, lauded the PWD staff for working through the night to clear garbage and urged AAP functionaries to help the department personnel.
“I am told PWD people and trucks worked whole nite to clean up garbage. I would urge all AAP volunteers to help PWD,” he tweeted, urging them to “keep it up”.
Hospitals run by the civic bodies were also hit hard as around 7,000 doctors and 12,000 nurses joined the strike yesterday seeking payment of their dues. The nearly 12,000 strong engineering staff of the civic bodies has also struck work since yesterday.
Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, who took part in cleanliness drive in his Patparganj constituency, alleged a “salary scam” in the corporations. He said the government is looking for a “permanent solution” to the problem.
Besides Sisodia, Delhi Tourism Minister Kapil Mishra, PWD Minister Satyendra Jain and Assembly speaker Ram Niwas Goel participated joined in the cleanliness drive in their respective constituencies.
Extending support to striking workers demanding dues, Kejriwal hoped that “some solution” will emerge after the High Court hears the matter next week.
“I support demand of protesting MCD employees that they should get their full salaries. I hope some solution will emerge after Tuesday’s High Court hearing,” he said.
The court has issued notices to Ministry of Urban Development, Delhi Government and three Municipal Corporations of Delhi (MCDs) seeking their stand on petitioner Rahul Birla’s claim that the concerned authorities were not paying salaries and arrears since 2003 to the workers of the MCD.
It also asked the Delhi Police Commissioner to ensure there is no hindrance to lifting of garbage in coordination with the civic bodies here, in view of the indefinite strike, that began on January 27.
“We have already paid them (corporations) funds for clearing salaries. We cannot let people live amid garbage.
Hence, we have undertaken the cleanliness drive,” Sisodia said.
Meanwhile, Rajendra Mewati, general secretary of the United Front of MCD Employees, warned that the situation may “deteriorate” if the government continues to engage PWD workers.
“The situation may deteriorate if the government continues to engage PWD workers in cleaning the city when sanitation workers are on an indefinite strike,” he said.
Mishra took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying that by the time the latter finishes his ‘Mann Ki Baat’, AAP would wind up its ‘Kaam ki Baat’.
“Whenever he (PM) indulges in mann ki baat, his detachment from the country’s real issues and problems comes out. He is full of himself (atmomugdh),” Mishra tweeted.
The Congress targeted both BJP and AAP over the “crisis” saying the two parties were “fooling” people of Delhi.
It slammed AAP for allegedly cutting budgetary allocation for payment of sanitation workers’ salaries and asked the ruling party to show a “large-heart” by releasing funds to bring the “crisis” to an end.
“AAP government has brought down budgetary allocation for municipal corporations from 9.3 per cent during our dispensation to 5.98 per cent now. And, it has increased the budget for its self-promotion,” Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken rued.