Delhi's contractual sanitation workers plan stir

New Delhi, July 2 (IANS) Contractual sanitation workers of three municipal corporations in Delhi may soon strike work to press their demand for regularisation of their services, a workers' leader said Tuesday.

"We have given a letter to all the three corporations for making the workers' services permanent, but still there has been no response," said Vinod Sarwan, general secretary of the Rashtriya Safai Mazdoor Congress.

He alleged that some sanitation workers in the Karol Bagh zone under the north corporation, Najafgarh under south corporation and some areas in Shahdara under east corporation had not been receiving salary regularly.

"They are workers who depend on the daily wages for their livelihood, so such backlog hurts them. We are tired of the false promises that the commissioners make after every meeting," added Sarwan.

South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) Commissioner Manish Gupta told IANS: "Under SDMC, the jobs of the sanitation workers recruited in 1997-98 have already been regularised and salaries are also delivered timely."

The three corporations have claimed that the process for the fulfilment of the workers' demand has been initiated. Officials said they are also looking at offering medical insurance to the workers.

"Apart from regularisation, we would also be providing the workers cashless medical card after which services in the government hospitals would be free. As it is a joint venture, we are awaiting a decision from the north corporation," said Gupta.

North Delhi Municipal Corporation Commissioner P.K. Gupta said: "We have taken the demand into consideration and with all the resources available we are doing our best."

The corporation is also working on a new set of uniform and by September all the sanitation workers would be provided new dresses.

According to Sarwan, there are over 60,000 sanitation workers in the three civic agencies and over 10,000 of these are contract employees.