Gurugram: Sanitation workers continue strike, garbage piles up across city
Gurugram is facing a severe cleanliness crisis as sanitation workers have been on an indefinite strike, demanding regularization of their services, since October 19. The situation deteriorated following Diwali as the glittering locales turned into stinking streets with heaps of garbage a day after the festival. In some areas, the administration had to call in workers from other departments to deal with the mess.
Crisis situation in absence of sanitation workers
Nearly 6,000 employees and contractual workers of the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) have reportedly stopped cleaning streets, neighborhoods, and public spaces due to their ongoing strike, said reports. This has led to a garbage buildup in various locations. Meanwhile, MCG Joint Commissioner Naresh Kumar has alleged the workers on strike also disrupted the cleaning work being done by others deployed in different areas.
'Intentionally dumping garbage in public places'
"They (staffers on strike) are also intentionally unloading garbage vehicles in markets, residential areas, and roads, inconveniencing residents. They are dumping garbage in key areas so that residents suffer and report the issue on social media to create pressure on the state government," Kumar said.
Union leaders, sanitation workers arrested for obstructing sanitation work
According to the police, 21 union leaders and sanitation workers were detained earlier on Monday for allegedly assaulting employees of Ecogreen Energy—the concessionaire MCG hired for waste management—to prevent them from collecting trash from various localities and marketplaces. They said the workers threatened the employees of Ecogreen Energy and damaged garbage collection vehicles, punctured earthmovers, and damaged other vehicles.
Police deployed to ensure garbage removal by alternative means
Meanwhile, more than 1,000 police officers were deployed throughout Gurugram following the MCG's request for their assistance and protection in order to remove waste across the city. Authorities said that the concessionaire's employees, who had been asked to clean the city in place of the striking MCG employees, were being harassed, so the police helped with street and market cleaning earlier on Tuesday.
What do MCG workers want?
Ram Singh, the president of the sanitation workers' union Nagar Nigam Safai Karamchari Sangh, told Hindustan Times that their main demands are that the administration does away with the contractual system, implements equal pay, and brings back the previous pension program, among other things. "Despite our repeated pleas, the government has turned a deaf ear, leaving us no choice but to protest," he said.