Mehak Zubair, Trainee Reporter, MassCoMedia
While the whole world was busy preparing to welcome the New Year the municipal workers of sector 58 had been on a strike for three days. The result of this strike was such huge heaps of garbage that the place could be easily mistaken as a dumping ground. This spot has conveniently become the dumping point for all the industries of this region and the accumulation of garbage has made it a breeding place for diseases .on being asked Sauraj Balnuki, the union leader explained that the workers were divided in two categories.one category consisted of workers directly in contact with the authorities and the other of those who are indirectly in contact with the authorities.
The first group had been promised that after the end of the year they would be allowed to work in sector 58 and areas around it.These workers have been working in these areas for a long time ,Maipal Sanop Mahaveer has been here for almost twenty years and Dayawati for ten years amongst several others.The workers say that they were assured that they could work in this area but now the authorites are not only turning their backs they are allegedly giving this place to workers under Tehlisdars.Sauraj ,while referring to the declaration of June 1988 says tehsildari was banned ever since.They have also kept with them a copy of this declaration.The reason for this injustice they claim is not only the authorities being bribed but also the greed for vote banks.The workers claim that those under Tehsildars give their votes in exchange of such favors and since they are locals it is highly beniftial for those in power.
The list of their grievances goes a long way back.It was during the government of Maulayam singh,that 1460 plots were allotted to them in sector 122.The change of government led to these being allotted on paper only.Suraj narrates how promises of making 100 workers permenant each year were never fulfilled.The wages of those who are indirectly in contact with the municipal corporation are 5152/- and those under direct control get 3500/-,both the groups are not amongst those who have been the benificaries of the sixth pay commission . In case a worker dies the former are given 5000 for cremation and a job to anybobdy eligible in the immediate family and no other compensation what so ever .while the former are not satisfied with these provisions the latter are not given any at all. Maipal, while narrating an incident said that in 2007 an old woman worker had died in a road accident .It was after this incident that again false promises of making them permanent were made.
In a complete ignorance of all hygiene standards, the municipal corporation has failed to provide gloves, masks, uniforms and even gumboots for the past three years, says Suraj. On being asked why they don’t complain or move the court they have a story in explanation to share. Some years back 61 workers filed a case not only was it futile, it also resulted in them loosing their jobs. Manoj kumar who had been a silent spectator till now could not stop himself and with a sigh and surety said that ‘’we live on the road and will die here’’.
When the students of Massco Media tried to contact the municipal authorities they refused to say anything. It was only after the students showed interest in and raised questions on grounds of hygiene that the authorities intervened and the garbage was disposed off and the strike ended.