Garbage politics stinks Delhi: Who should be blamed — Kejriwal, BJP or you?

By: | Updated: January 10, 2017 1:28 PM

In the season of politics, this one is new and stinking. On Tuesday, sanitation workers dumped garbage outside the residence of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA Raju Dhingan.

 delhi, garbage delhi, delhi garbage, mcd, emdc, sanitation workers strike iin delhi, sanitation workers strike, bjp, arvind kejriwal, manish sisodia, delhi government, aapSanitation workers dump garbage outside residence of Trilokpuri MLA Raju Dhingan on Tuesday. (ANI)

In the season of politics, this one is new and stinking. On Tuesday, sanitation workers dumped garbage outside the residence of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA Raju Dhingan from Trilokpuri in east Delhi. The incident added more fuel to the political blame-game being shamelessly played in Delhi even as residents of the city continue to face hazardous health threats due to piling garbage on roads.

Since January 6, sanitation workers of East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) have been on strike to push for the release of their salaries. The workers were not paid for the last two months as EDMC claimed it didn’t have funds for clearing their salaries.

On Monday, reports said the sanitation workers called off their strike following “successful” negotiations. EDMC even said it had started distributing salaries to supporters. However, MCD Swachata Karmchari Union said they would take a call on ending their strike after consulting all members. On Tuesday, the safai karmcharis have continued with the strike even as more garbage are piling up on streets of east Delhi. According to estimates, the Ghazipur landfill site in East Delhi receives around 2,500 tonnes of waste daily.

It is now feared that sanitation workers’ strike would spread to other parts of the city. On Monday itself, United front of MCD Employees told The Hindu that sanitation workers of North Delhi Municipal Corporation would join the strike in the next few days to be followed by teachers, engineers and medical staff.

While sanitation workers’ strike may not end soon, politics over garbage is in full swing.

Delhi government is responsible for providing funds to MCDs. The government-led by Aam Aadmi convenor Arvind Kejriwal claims it has provided more money to MCD than ever.

On Monday, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said AAP government has given more funds than previous government to MCDs. He also tweeted the figures. Earlier on Sunday, Sisodia said his government had approved Rs 119 crore to EDMC for providing salaries to workers.

If the government’s claims are true then question arises as to what happened to the money. AAP leaders have an answer: BJP led MCDs have looted all the money meant for the workers.

“More funds, than were due this year, have been given to MCD. BJP siphoned it off or diverted it rather than paying salaries,” reads a Kejriwal tweet. In another tweet, the Delhi CM says, “BJP playing dirty politics wid Delhi. Their councillors siphoned funds meant 4 salaries of MCD employees n then throw garbage on Del (hi) roads.”

On their part, the sanitation workers’ union have described the latest payment by AAP government as “too little”, while BJP-ruled MCDs are demanding the implementation of the Fourth Finance Commission’s recommendations that propose a greater share of revenue to the civic bodies.

With all conflicting parties sticking to their respective positions, the garbage crisis throws another question. Who is responsible for the mess? The Delhi government that couldn’t make politics out of MCD sanitation workers’ plight in the last two months or the BJP-ruled MCD that doesn’t seem to be interested in ending the crisis soon or just you for electing these people.

This is not the first time when sanitation workers have gone on strike in Delhi. In the last two years itself, they have halted garbage collection in the national capital on five occasions.

For the time being the National Green Tribunal has stepped in with notices to Delhi government, EDMC and workers over the ongoing strike. But who will answer the questions?

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