The strike by MCD employees in the national capital entered its third day on Friday. The striking employees are expected to stage a protest walk in Laxmi Nagar area of Delhi. The striking workers gheraoed the residence of Delhi Transport Minister Gopal Rai over the non-payment of salaries.
This comes a day after the striking Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) employees blocked the road outside the residence of Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia. The protestors also threw garbage at Sisodia’s office. The Deputy Chief Minister, meanwhile, defended the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government, claiming that funds have already been released but were not disbursed by the MCD.
Sisodia also asked the protesting workers to question the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on why the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), which comes under the Central government, did not pay outstanding dues of Rs 1,200 crore to the MCD.
The workers had also threatened to suspend work for an “indefinite” period if their demands were not met. Workers attached to East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) had gone on strike making similar demands in October 2015. But the strike was called off in the wake of a High Court order.
Over 1.5 lakh MCD employees have gone on an indefinite strike.
Delhi government on Wednesday charged that “huge corruption” in the BJP-led municipal corporations was the reason why they are not able to release the salaries of sanitation workers.
Accusing BJP of doing “dirty politics” over the issue, Tourism Minister Kapil Mishra also claimed there is a “conspiracy” to make Delhiites reside in the middle of garbage.
Even as a section of sanitation workers today went on a strike seeking “immediate” release of funds for payment of their salaries and arrears, the minister said that all dues have been cleared by Delhi government to the municipal bodies.
“There has been corruption of crores of rupees in the municipal corporations. That is why they are not able to even release the salaries of their staff despite receiving all their dues from the government and taxes from people,” Mishra said at a press conference in New Delhi.
Scores of municipality sanitation workers on Wednesday staged a protest outside Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal‘s residence over their demands.
Saying that on 15 January, the commissioners of all three corporations had in a written submission admitted that all dues had been released to them by the government, the minister sought to know “where the money given to the MCDs is going?”
“When the government has given the entire amount for the current financial year meant to be spent on the salaries of employees, why has it not reached them?” he asked.
Mishra charged that a “conspiracy is being hatched to defame Delhi before the entire country and the whole world”.
“The senior leadership of BJP has hatched a conspiracy to make the people of Delhi reside in the middle of a garbage heap. BJP is doing dirty politics on this issue,” he claimed. According to the government, it has released the entire amount of Rs 892.92 crore for North Delhi Municipal Corporation and Rs 465 crore for the East Corporation.
In case of the South Corporation, an amount of Rs 668 crore, that is, approximately 80 per cent of the revised estimate of Rs 830 crore for the current financial year, has been released, it added.
“On the one hand, mayors are saying they don’t have money for the salaries of their staff, but they have Rs 300 crore lying unspent in their account,” claimed Mishra.
“Where has the money collected through parking, property tax, toll tax, electricity tax gone? They have increased parking rates and are still not releasing the salaries,” he added.
The minister also claimed that although DDA owes Rs 1,555 crore to the municipal corporations, BJP leaders and mayors are not demanding this money.
“If they are facing problems in obtaining these funds, I along with my Cabinet colleagues will meet Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and request him to release this amount,” said Mishra.
The erstwhile unified Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) was trifurcated into the North, South and East corporations (NDMC, SDMC and EDMC) in 2012.
With inputs from PTI
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