Workers’ strike hits water scheme

Special Correspondent
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Satya Sai drinking water project.
Satya Sai drinking water project.

Thousands of rural people from East and West Godavari districts are deprived of safe drinking water for the last two days in view of a flash strike launched by the Sri Satya Sai Water Workers Management Union. The water project, which intended to draw water from the Godavari river for supplying to the rural folks after purification, was commissioned on the river banks near Polavaram with the financial assistance from Sri Satya Sai Trust. A pump house was built for pumping the river water and dedicated power feeders were provided to keep the scheme functional round-the-clock regardless of the shortcomings in power supply.

The union, affiliated to the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), launched a flash strike on July 16, seeking wages on a regular basis.

The union honorary president and CPI district secretary D. Prabhakar told The Hindu that the strike would be continued indefinitely until the demand was met.

Around 300 workers engaged in maintenance of the water scheme on a contract basis are reportedly not receiving salaries for the last three months. As the scheme was funded by the Sri Satya Sai Trust, the government is supposed to bear its maintenance cost.

The Larsen and Toubro (L&T), a contracting agency which executed the project, is supposed to disburse salaries to the employees after receipt of salary bill from the government.

The agency is reported to have stopped paying the salaries on the ground that the government has not released funds from time to time, resulting in the strike.

The officials of the contracting agency expressed their helplessness to maintain the project in the face of non-receipt of funds from the government at a recent meeting of the governing board of Sri Satya Sai Water Scheme. The scheme supplies protected water for drinking to people in 284 villages falling under Chintalapudi, Gopalapuram, Polavaram and Kovvuru Assembly segments in West Godavari district through pipelines. Besides, piped water is also supplied to five mandals in the neighbouring East Godavari district.

The stalemate persisting over payment of salaries to the employees is defeating the very objective behind the noble cause for which the scheme was executed.

  • Contracting agency says it fails to receive funds from the government

  • Water supply to thousands of rural people affected

  • Workers are reportedly not receiving salaries for the last three months



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