Waste Piles Up In Bhubaneswar As Cease-Work Stir Of BMC Sweepers Enters Day 2

Bhubaneswar: Garbage continued to pile up in Odisha capital on Tuesday as the indefinite ceasework by 700 sweepers entered its second day.

According to reports, they may gherao Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) later in the day over their demands. The agitators, who have gathered at Raj Mahal Square, are demanding an increase in their monthly salary from Rs 12,000 to Rs 15,000. They also want to be relieved from the manual waste segregation work.

The issue remained unresolved despite a meeting between BMC officials and sweepers last evening. “We will try to resolve their grievances. They are responsible for cleanliness of the city. There are certain process of solid waste management that has to be followed. We will communicate it to them while addressing their issues positively. We are striving for a permanent solution for processing and recycling of waste,” BMC Commissioner Rajesh Prabhakar Patil told the media.

Following the stir, leftover street food, dry leaves, used polythene and paper packets were found strewn across many streets in 50 out of the total 67 wards in the city where sweeping have been suspended since Monday morning. The sanitation workers also alleged that they are not being provided protective gears despite the fact that they work outdoors and handle hazardous waste.

A BMC official added that sweeping will restart by Tuesday night. The civic body may also accede to the demand of sweepers to relieve them of segregation job since a survey in July last year had revealed the segregation of waste generated from sweeping of roads was very low in the state capital due to poor handling by sanitation workers.

The strike by sweepers has come two weeks after 670 casual and 259 daily labourers (sweepers, anti-larvae chemical spraying workers, drivers and gardeners) engaged by BMC threatened to cease work demanding job regularisation. The workers, under the banner of Bhubaneswar Mahanagar Nigam Workers Union, had also demanded annual leave, leave on all national festivals and holidays and weekly off days.


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