Cautions protesting sanitation workers of invoking Esma if they do not report for work

Taking exception to the ongoing strike by the contract workers that has severely crippled sanitation works in the city, Mayor Mohammed Majid Hussain has cautioned that Essential Services Maintenance Act (Esma) will be invoked from Wednesday if the workers did not to return to their assigned tasks.

Speaking to presspersons here on Tuesday, Mr. Hussain expressed displeasure at the way the strike was resulting in unhygienic conditions with garbage piling up across the city and objected to the unions and other staff joining the agitation. “The city cannot be held to ransom this way. I appeal to them to report for work else all possible avenues including disciplinary action will be considered,” he said.

The GHMC had been trying its best to handle the prevailing situation and had come out with a contingency plan and pressed into service 160 vehicles for lifting of garbage, he said. The demands of the unions which were in the civic body purview were met but wage hike was an issue that was with the government.

“In view of the inconvenience to the citizens and possible health impacts, we have been requesting the workers to resume sanitation works. But given the conditions, we will have to explore all possible alternatives now including privatisation,” a visibly upset Mr. Hussain cautioned.

14,000 MT unattended

Meanwhile, nearly 25,000 contract and outsourced workers of the GHMC continued their strike for the fourth day which resulted in most parts of the city wearing a littered look and garbage piling up in bins. The contingency plans of the civic body could only address a part of the daily sanitation works and the effect of the strike was felt in residential colonies and commercial areas as well.

As about 4,000 metric tonnes (MT) of garbage is lifted from the city every day, the four days of strike had around 14,000 MT left unattended on the city streets and roads.

The contract workers held protest meets and even the GHMC head office wore a deserted look with the main gates closed and manned by security personnel. Teams of police were stationed close to the office in view of yesterday’s situation when scores of agitating workers had to be forcibly shifted from the head office premises.

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