Routine cleaning, misting and disinfection activities in the capital of Bihar came to an abrupt halt after nearly all staff at the Patna Municipal Company (PMC) called an indefinite strike on Thursday amid the disease outbreak coronavirus (Covid-19) and prolonged waterlogging.
About 8,500 PMC staff, including contract workers and contract workers, joined the strike at the call of Patna Nagar Nigam Sanyukt Karmchari Samiti (MNNSKS) to protest the alleged reluctance of the government. state government to meet its commitments.
MNNSK chairman Chandra Prakash Singh said the PMC agreed in February to regularize the services of skilled day laborers, increase wages and salaries and ensure the removal of the order from the urban development department. (UDD) to replace daily bets with contracted staff after a week-long strike, when piles of garbage were seen strewn in the streets of various localities for days.
“However, none of the commitments have been honored,” Singh said, adding that an 18-point charter of demands had been submitted to the PMC commissioner.
PMC commissioner Himanshu Sharma said a dialogue was underway with agitated employees and their leaders to resolve issues as soon as possible. âI call on all workers to join work in a critical phase caused by Covid and the monsoon. All their reasonable requests will be given serious consideration, âsaid the Commissioner.
The leaders of the employees, meanwhile, claimed to have signed an agreement with the PMC commissioner in the presence of UDD secretary Anand Kishore on their long-standing demands on February 8.
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âSalary payments to outsourced and regular staff have been suspended for the past four months. In addition, there is a glaring disparity in the payment of outsourced staff versus the benefits incurred by their respective agencies, âSingh alleged.
The indefinite strike is expected to take a toll on the cleanliness of the city, ranked among the dirtiest cities in the country during the last Swachhata Sarvekshan, at a time when sanitation and disinfection is needed to help contain the spread of Covid . Efforts to pump stagnant rainwater from various localities and roads were also suspended as well as door-to-door collection of municipal waste.
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Amit Prakash, from the locality of Postal Park, feared an outbreak of water-borne illness in the area after the PMC stopped spraying disinfectants and bleach powder to contain mosquito growth. âThe stench emanating from the stagnant rainwater still forced us to stay inside,â Prakash said.