New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday asked the civic bodies to take steps for immediate removal of the piled-up garbage on the roads of national capital, saying if salaries have been paid to sanitation workers, they cannot hold the city to ransom by going on strike.
A division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath sought response from civic bodies and and unions of the sanitation workers by February 8.
“We have already passed an interim order on January 27 that the commissioner of police shall ensure that the removal of garbage by the private agencies employed by the municipal corporations is not obstructed by the existing staff or their agents in any manner whatsoever.
“We reiterate the said direction and the municipal corporations shall take steps for immediate removal of the piled up garbage,” said the court in its order.
The court was hearing a PIL bringing to the notice of the court the deteriorating sanitation conditions in Delhi and extreme hardship being caused to the citizens on account of the ongoing strike by the sanitation workers of all the three municipal corporations.
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Civic bodies told the bench that they have been taking steps for clearing garbage by engaging private agencies, but it is inadequate to meet the prevailing situation of overflowing garbage on the streets.
The corporations further said they had received funds from Delhi government on Thursday and had immediately paid wages to the workers up to January. But, the workers have now raised new demands like arrears of dearness allowance and other such perquisites, they told the bench.
When the court asked whether Delhi government intended to enforce the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA), the government said that this had not been considered till now.
Employees of Delhi’s civic bodies have been protesting over the non-payment of salaries for the past few months, and directing their ire at both the Delhi and central governments for the last 10 days.