To end sanitation workers' strike ahead of Diwali, AAP to pay bankrupt EDMC Rs 108 crore tax shares in advance

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From: IndiaToday By: Reuters Published at: October 13, 2017
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The Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi government has decided to bail out the bankrupt east MCD of an embarrassing situation, where 11,000 of its safai karmcharis have gone on strike just before Diwali - by paying Rs 108 crore tax shares in advance.

The EDMC commissioner, Ranbir Singh, declared on Thursday, "We wrote to the principle secretary, Urban Development, apprising him of the situation. It could get worse with sanitation workers not picking up garbage from dhalaos or transporting them to Ghazipur landfill in this festive season."

It was the second day of strike by the Category-D workers on Thursday, with few wards like Sundar Nagari suffering majorly. Affiliated to the Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), the largest union in municipal corporations, the cleaning employees instead dumped trash outside EDMC Mayor Neema Bhagat's office in Geeta Colony and burnt her effigy. The commissioner said, "Delhi government accepted our request, the money is sanctioned and we should receive it by Friday instead of December, when it was actually due. With this, we hope to be able to clear the pending pension, and Diwali bonus of Rs 20 crore of all our employees."

As per Delhi High Court order, salaries of all D-category employees (sanitation staff) up to September have been paid, but arrears amounting to a huge Rs 1,500-1,600 crore cannot be cleared right now as the corporation does not have that much money with it, he accepted.

As per recommendations of the Third Finance Commission, the Delhi government provides the east MCD Rs 570 crore each year in tax shares received from the central government.

The first two installments of this come in April, followed by the third installment in August and last (Rs 108 cr.) in December. It is the fourth and last installment that has been expedited.

Sanjay Gehlot, president of the striking 'MCD Swachhata Karmchari Union,' however, said that they have not even been paid their basic salaries, and they would continue striking. "It's a lie. They have paid salaries up to September to karmcharis in only 12-15 of 64 wards. The rest still have not got salaries of two months."

"Worse still, the EDMC commissioner has himself admitted lately that there are barely Rs 6000 left in the corporation's bank account. The body is absolutely kaput." he said.

"We feel ashamed to even work for such an organisation. It is all a result of the tussle and politics between AAP and BJP, and nobody is making any genuine effort to enhance the revenue earning of the corporation. "Mayor Neema Bhagat says the Delhi government has to pay EDMC Rs 950 crore. AAP, however, says they don't owe anything to the MCDs. We don't know what is happening," he claimed.

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