NEW DELHI -- In the midst of heightened concerns over the stinking garbage crisis in the capital, and a political blame-game between the Aam Aadmi Party-government and the centre, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced the release of funds for salaries of thousands of sanitation workers who have been on strike since June 2.
Non-collection of waste has caused around 15,000 tonnes of garbage to be dumped on roads and residential areas.
While Congress Party-Vice President Rahul Gandhi attacked the centre and state for failing to take responsibility for the sanitation workers, Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung said that Rs. 493 crores would be released today.
Sanitation workers in the capital have become casualties of the escalating turf war between the Delhi government and the centre. The Delhi government maintains that paying the municipal bodies is the responsibility of the centre. The BJP-controlled Municipal Department blames the Kejriwal government for holding up the funds to pay around around 11,000 sanitation workers of East Delhi.
Accusing the BJP-MCD of being a corrupt organisation, AAP said at a press conference that Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had allocated a sum of Rs. 2000 crore for the sanitation department, but this money had not reached beneficiaries, IBN Live reported.
"There is money to give to Mongolia, but none to pay to the safai karamcharis from Mangolpuri," the Delhi chief minister said today in a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, NDTV reported.
On Friday, Jung met with the mayors of three municipal bodies to assure them the Delhi government would release the money today, and he requested sanitation workers to go back to work in the interest of public good.
"The Lt. governor met all the three mayors and commissioners of the municipal corporations today. He informed them that the government of Delhi would be releasing Rs.493 crore today (Friday)," an official statement from the LG House said, IANS reported.
"While appreciating the pain that the safai karamcharies have gone through for lack of payment of salaries, he appeals to them that despite the hardships they have faced, they should call off the strike. This will be in the greater interest of the citizens of this great city that belongs to all of us," the statement said.
Meanwhile, Gandhi, who met with sanitation workers in East Delhi on Thursday, slammed the Centre and the Delhi government for shifting blame.
Delhi Govt says its the responsibility of Govt of India, &Govt of India says its Delhi Govt’s problem!Both are making excuses:Rahul Gandhi— Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) June 12, 2015
Gandhi promised sanitation workers that he would fight their battle. "You are not just sanitation workers. You are like soldiers in an army," said the Congress leader.
"Nothing will happen with excuses," he said. "Your work will only be done when you show the government your strength," he said.
आप सिर्फ़ सफ़ाई कर्मचारी नहीं हो, आप सेना के सिपाही जैसे हो: राहुल गांधी— Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) June 12, 2015
बहानों से कुछ नहीं होगा। आप का काम तभी होगा जब सरकार को आप अपनी शक्ति दिखायेंगे: राहुल गांधी pic.twitter.com/437duuohLI— Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) June 12, 2015