Neighbourhood News Desk/Avi Arya: The air around East Delhi has smelled rotten, due to the 20,000 metric tonnes of garbage that has been thrown and gathered on the streets in the form of a strike by sanitation workers.
Officials of corporations says that even if all 16,000 of the ‘safai karamcharis’ resume their work immediately, it will take at least 10 days for them to clean up the mess that has already been piled up. So far only 60% of the trash in the residential neighbourhoods that fall under the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) is being taken for processing with the help of private workers from hired corporations. The rest is just left lying on the roads.
EDMC mayor Bipin Bihari said, “East Delhi generates about 2,600 metric tonnes of garbage every day but only about 2,200 is collected and sent for processing. Due to the strike, about 1,600 tonnes is being lifted every day with the help of private trucks and auto tippers. Though other agencies are also picking up some garbage, about 900 tonnes is being left behind every day. By our calculation, about 20,000 tonnes is strewn on roads and pavements right now”.
Safai karamcharis are demanding regularization for all the workers employed after 1998, and the payment of pending salaries. This is by far the sixth strike by the municipal sanitation staff in east Delhi in the last three-and-a-half years. This problem may be worse because sanitation workers have threatened to continue their strike during the upcoming festive if their demands are not met.