The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) staff at the head office went on a flash strike on Monday alleging use of abusive language by the Additional Commissioner (Health and Sanitation), L.Vandan Kumar against a vehicle inspector.

The employees led by Greater Hyderabad Municipal Employees Union president, U. Gopal, demanded an apology from the official and also his repatriation to the parent, the Municipal Administration Department. The union members shut the gates, burnt effigies and disrupted the weekly ‘Prajavani’ programme apart from entering into heated arguments with other officials.

“We want immediate action else we will halt all the sanitation works,” Mr. Gopal threatened and cautioned that once all the 37,000 workers join the agitation, the entire garbage cleaning operations would come to a grinding halt. The agitating employees alleged that Mr. Kumar had used abusive language against vehicle inspector Pochaiah for bringing a car without adequate fuel a couple of days ago. The issue was brought to the notice of GHMC Commissioner M.T. Krishna Babu immediately and since no action was forthcoming it was decided to strike work, Mr. Gopal said. Union leaders also claimed that transport offices at Kavadiguda, Malakpet and L.B. Nagar too had struck work.

Mr. Vandan Kumar, however, dismissed the episode as a “small issue that got blown out of proportion”. “A staff member being pulled up is a daily affair. There is no problem. We will talk to them and settle the matter,” he said.

Later in the afternoon, during a meeting between senior officials and the agitating staff in the presence of the GHMC Commissioner, the issue was sorted. “The matter is over and the employees have decided to call off their protest and join work,” an official said.

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