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AAP says sanitation workers’ strike over, union says no

A group of sanitation workers announced to call off their strike on Sunday, after the Delhi government reportedly promised to release Rs 1,100 crore to the three municipal corporations of Delhi (MCDs) to meet the demands of the striking safai karmacharis (sanitation workers) by December. However, another section of cleanliness staff do not seem to buy the government’s promise.

With safai karmacharis on strike, many areas of the national Capital were submerged in heaps of garbage on Sunday. Sanitation workers of all three civic bodies staged a protest outside zonal offices and houses of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs. 

“The income being generated by us is not sufficient to satisfy our needs and the government has to sanction funds without politicising the difficulty in public curiosity,” said Ravinder Gupta, Mayor of North MCD.

However, the government claimed on Sunday that the sanitation workers had called off their three-day-long strike, but a major employees’ union asserted that the protest was still on. 

AAP leader Dilip Pandey tweeted: “Municipal Corporation of Delhi workers’ strike is over. Several workers’ unions agreed that the government had paid the fixed amount on time and more than the previous year.” He further tweeted:  “The authorities have agreed on releasing the remaining funds for the (current) financial year 2016 before December.”

However, president of the Akhil Bharatiya Safai Mazdoor Congress, Rajendra Mewati, rebutted the AAP’s claim as false and said that the strike was on. “The strike is still on. The AAP has made a false statement,” said Mewati, who is also the coordinator of the strike. “As many as 28 sanitation workers’ unions are participating in the strike. The AAP has spoken to a particular member of one MCD Swachhata Karmchari Union and declared that the strike has been called off, which is not true,” he added.

Mewati said if the government wanted to get the strike over, it should have invited heads of all unions for talks. He warned that sanitation workers would not clear garbage strewn over city roads till the Municipal Corporations of Delhi officials and the government take a note of their demands. “No one has approached us regarding the meeting our demands. Our strike continues and we will not lift the garbage till our demands are met,” he said.

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