Delhi

‘What about our pending dues?’ ask municipal employees as MCD reunification date nears

The Civic Centre on Minto Road, set to be the headquarters of the unified MCD

The Civic Centre on Minto Road, set to be the headquarters of the unified MCD | Photo Credit: FILE PHOTO

With Delhi’s three municipal corporations – North, South and East – set to be merged into a single entity on Sunday, unions representing its employees, say their concerns about pending salaries and job regularisation have not been allayed.

A.P. Khan, the convener of the Confederation of Municipal Corporation of Delhi Employees Union (CMCDEU), said while the process of reunification is on track, there has been no forward movement on resolving the financial woes of the employees.

“All unions were hopeful that the reunification will address our financial troubles because that was said to be the purpose behind the move. But we are still stuck in the same situation while the unification is about to happen,” said Mr. Khan. 

Protests over pending salaries — by teachers, contractual employees and doctors — became a regular phenomenon resulting in the disruption of daily operations of the civic bodies.

Apart from pending salaries, the workers have held protests over pending pensions and regularisation of services over the past few months.  

Devanand Sharma, president, Anti-Malaria Ekta Karamchari Union (AMEKU), which represents a section of contractual workers deployed as Domestic Breeding Checkers (DBC) by the civic bodies, said the workers have not been paid their salaries –  a sum of ₹15,000 per month – for the last four months. 

In late February, the DBC workers sat on a two-week-long strike over the regularisation of their services. The strike was called off after the authorities assured the workers of looking into their demands. 

Mr. Sharma now looks back at those assurances as “empty promises”. He added, “The issue of our regularisation was not pursued nor have we received our pending salaries. This just makes our situation worse.”

A similar concern was echoed by the teachers serving at the schools run by the North and East civic bodies. Kuldeep Singh Khatri, who heads a union representing the teachers said the teachers under the East civic body have not been paid since December.

“The teachers under the North Delhi Municipal Corporation have not been paid for the last two months, and there is no clarity over the salary for the current month,” said Mr. Khatri.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah, while presenting the Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2022 in late March, said that it sought to make the civic bodies self-reliant.

Across the North and East corporations, civic officials, and the outgoing political leaders, have placed the onus — for the delay in payments — on the Delhi government, adding that the latter is yet to pay the pending funds.

“The corporation is now with the Centre. They should deal with all the issues. Instead, the same old arguments concerning the financial crunch are being peddled again. How is this going to make the civic body financially stable and self-reliant?” said Mr. Khan.

Responding to this, a senior civic official said, “Unless we receive a bail-out package and ample funds, which the Centre has to ensure, the financial crisis will remain and the purpose of reunifying the three municipalities will not be solved.” 

When reached for a comment over the Delhi government not paying its share of funds, AAP’s MCD in-charge Durgesh Pathak dismissed the claim saying, “the same pattern of blaming the Delhi government” for the financial crisis of the corporations was again being played.

“We live in a democracy, if we did have any dues to pay then the courts would have taken action against us. Why is the Centre not solving the corporations’ financial crisis despite taking charge of it?”


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Printable version | Jul 2, 2022 1:30:32 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/what-about-our-pending-dues-ask-municipal-employees-as-mcd-reunification-date-nears/article65430470.ece