The ongoing indefinite strike called by sanitation workers of East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) due to non-payment of salary on Tuesday caught the attention of the National Green Tribunal which sought the response of the Centre, Delhi government and the workers’ union on the issue.
A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar issued notices to the Centre, Ministry of Urban Development, the AAP government and the union of ‘safai karamcharis’ directing them to file their replies on the issue by tomorrow.
“The counsel appearing for the Corporation submitted that there is a complete deadlock in functioning of corporations as they are unable to pay wages to the safai karamchari and as a result municipal solid waste is accumulated on roadsides and dhalaos. According to him (EDMC counsel), the amount has not been released for payment to safai karamcharis, and it has affected the work of the municipal corporation.
“Let Notice be issued... The municipal corporation shall make statement before the Tribunal as to what extent of municipal solid waste which remains uncollected and being dumped at dhalaos and sites within and not carried/transported to the sanitary landfill sites and for what period,” the bench said.
The direction came after advocate Balendu Shekhar, appearing for the EDMC, told the bench that urgent directions were needed as the employees were on indefinite strike since January 5 due to non-payment of salary.
He alleged that the amount has not been released for payment to ‘safai karamcharis’ which has affected the work of the corporation.
The EDMC lawyer said there was an “extraordinary situation” and sought directions for immediate release of salary to sanitation workers saying that the ‘dhalaos’ were overflowing with waste.
Since 2015, east corporation sanitation workers have gone on strike five times over non-payment of salary. This time, it is over non-payment of their November and December salaries.
The NGT had earlier directed all municipal authorities to draw up “an integrated waste management plan for Delhi, identify landfill sites and improve condition of existing sites,” among other issues.