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East Delhi Stinks As Municipal Sanitation Workers go on Indefinite Strike

New Delhi: The indefinite strike by the sanitation workers of the East Delhi Municipal Corporation, which entered its fourth day on Monday, has left the trans-Yamuna region reeling under a garbage crisis, with waste dumped in the open in several areas, from Laxmi Nagar to Patparganj.

More than 7,000 tonnes of garbage has accumulated across east Delhi, as workers continue to strike over pending salaries. Several other EDMC employees, including doctors and teachers, have also not been paid for months now and have threatened to join the strike from mid-January. The BJP-ruled east corporation has blamed the Delhi government of withholding funds and not implementing reform policies to make MCDs more financially viable.

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Sunday hit out at the BJP-run civic bodies, accusing them of being saddled with “grave corruption”, even as the AAP government announced a fresh fund of Rs 119 crore to the EDMC.

In a press conference held at his official residence, the senior AAP leader claimed that “enough funds have been given to the municipal bodies, but one doesn’t know where that money is being flushed out.”

“The MCD has been telling that Delhi government has not given them funds. So, I am presenting some of the figures in this regard. In 2012-13, Rs 399 crore was given as fund to EDMC, in 2013-14 Rs 416 crore and in 2014-15 it was Rs 441 crore.

“Then our government came, and 2015-16 we released Rs 702 crore under non-plan head, and in 2016-17 so far, we have released Rs 609 crore. Also, till 2015 these funds were released with Rs 60-70 crore of loan adjustment. But, we gave them (EDMC) the funds without such deductions. So, we want to ask, where did that money go,” he said.

“Is there a corruption pipeline opened by the civic bodies, if these funds were not used,” he alleged.

“Besides, we have, also released a fund of Rs 119 crore to the EDMC under the non-plan head, and it should duly be used for payment of salaries. The fund was released yesterday and it should reach the civic body soon,” Sisodia told reporters.

The APP-MCD politics heats up at a time when municipal polls are due this year, and Sisodia said, “People will teach them (BJP-led MCD) lessons in the elections. From three seats (in Delhi Assembly polls) they would be wiped out completely this time.”

The AAP leader also took the opportunity to reach out to the sanitation workers, saying, “They were being exploited by the MCD and that they should expose these civic bodies.”

Sisodia also said as per the recommendation of the 14th Finance Commission, “the civic bodies should get about Rs 3,552 crore from the Centre.

“Now, the government at the Centre and at the municipal level is of the BJP, then why are they (MCD) not getting funds? Also, the civic bodies have to collect tax from DDA, that has also not happened,” he said.

“The MCD instead of collecting taxes properly is busy indulging in corruption in sanctioning building plans in unauthorised colonies. If they collect these taxes properly, they can pay for the salaries of these workers, from even 10 per cent of that collection,” Sisodia alleged.

The erstwhile unified Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) was trifurcated in 2012 into North Corporation, South Corporation and East Corporation.

(With PTI inputs)