Mrunal Manmay Dash

The cease-work protest by the sanitation workers in Bhubaneswar entered day 2 on Tuesday, which has led to unpicked garbage lying on Bhubaneswar streets.

The scenes of unattended garbage are same in 53 wards out of the 67 wards of the Smart City. Streets are filled with litter, polythene, thermocol plates, waste food items, waste and rotten vegetables and other garbage.

Sanitation workers’ demands include salary hike to Rs 15,000 and no to waste segregation. Though the sanitation workers earlier staged protest over non-fulfillment of their demands on February 24, their discussion with the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) ended without a result on February 29. So, on Monday, they launched an indefinite cease-work strike.

“We want Rs 15000 salary per month, and we will not segregate waste. BMC should employ different people to segregate the dry waste from wet waste. The government has increased salary of almost all the departments, then why not us... We work outside in the scorching heat. But the government has not done anything for us,” alleged a protesting sanitary worker.

In a bid to intensify their agitation, they are reportedly planning to gherao the BMC office today.

“We do not want to gherao the BMC office. We do not even want to protest by putting our work on hold. But the BMC is not helping us. We have been protesting since yesterday, but instead of discussing with us regarding our demands, they are threatening us through ward agents,” alleged a sanitary worker.

“We will not only gherao the BMC office, we will not go to work until our demands are met,” he said.

It is pertinent to mention here that Bhubaneswar Mayor and the Deputy Commissioner of the BMC had called the representatives of the protesting sanitation workers to discuss their demands on Monday. However, the discussion failed after the Mayor reportedly told them that the salary hike is a decision that can only be taken by the government and not the BMC.

The BMC has not released any statement in this connection till now. We also couldn't reach out to any BMC official over the development and allegations levelled by the sanitation workers.

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