The Delhi High Court strongly condemned the agitation by safai karamcharis (sanitation workers) who have been on a strike in the capital for the past fortnight. The Municipal Corporation Departments of the city were criticised for the strike and the two-bench division even threatened to invoke the Essential Services Management Act (ESMA) against the sanitation workers.The bench observed that with the MCDs having paid the salaries, the sanitation workers cannot go on strike and hold the city to ransom. “If salaries have been paid, they cannot hold the city to ransom,” Chief Justice G Rohini said and asked the corporations and unions to respond to a public interest litigation filed to end the strike. The PIL filed by advocate Birendra Sangwan highlights the lack of sanitation around the city and the mounds of garbage piled on the roads.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to the lawyers representing the MCDs, salaries of the workers have been cleared till January 31 following which 40% of the karamcharis from the south zone have resumed work. South MCD is contemplating action against those who are yet to rejoin work. “We are going to start marking the remainder 60% of the workers as absent. We have cleared salaries till January and have sent repeated notices seeking a cancellation of the strike,” said Mukesh Gupta, advocate for South MCD.”We are right now concerned about the third dimension, of hardship caused to citizens,” the bench noted and asked whether the Delhi government intended to enforce ESMA. However, the bench ruled that it would hear the striking unions before taking such a harsh decision. One of the lawyers representing the MCD relayed that the corporations would not be averse to such an action by the court.Notice has been issued to all the striking unions through their presidents across the city. Though East and North continue to suffer the most, South Delhi Municipal Corporation have outsourced the job of collecting garbage to private contractors.Meanwhile, Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung separately met the three mayors of the corporations and announced an additional load of Rs 300 crore to East and North MCD from the Delhi Development Authority on Friday. The Delhi Government has released Rs 693 crore to help end the strike of which Rs 551 crore was a loan.Jung went on to assure those concerned that he would speak to the Aam Aadmi Party led government regarding the implementation of the fourth Finance Commission Report to find a long term solution.

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If salaries paid, why hold Delhi to ransom: Delhi High Court