Sanitation takes a back seat as staff crunch plagues Amritsar Municipal Corporation

Sanitation takes a back seat as staff crunch plagues Amritsar Municipal Corporation

Stagnant water due to sewage overflow at Guru Nanak Dev Hospital in Amritsar. Photo: Vishal Kumar

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 12

After the Covid-19 outbreak, now the health wing of the Municipal Corporation of Amritsar (MCA) has claimed to fight dengue on a war footing, but the MCA is facing shortage of sanitation workers.

We have written to the state government for recruiting safai karamcharis at the MC. Our sanitation staff is working competently to curb the spread of dengue. However, if the government fills all vacant posts, we will be more efficient to fight against the pandemic or any health emergency. Hopefully, the government will recruit sanitation workers. Malwinder Singh Jaggi, MC Commissioner

There are mainly five types of cadre — chief sanitary inspectors, sanitary inspectors, sanitary supervisors, sanitary jamadars and safai karamcharis — in the health wing of the MC. However, posts are lying vacant in other cadres too, but safai karamcharis are reportedly overburdened. Around 800 posts of safai karamcharis are vacant.

Leaders of the employees’ union claimed that there was no direct retirement of sanitation workers for the last few years. The dependents of the deceased workers were being recruited on compassionate ground only.

The sanitation workers, who work in the field, do not get leave during any festival. They have to work on weekends too. They have been demanding one-month extra salary for working on government holidays and festivals.

Vinod Kumar Bitta, president, Sanji Sangharsh Committee of Municipal Employees, said, “The MCA has around 2,400 sanctioned posts of safai karamcharis. The city is expanding day by day. The number of sanctioned posts is decreasing and the government is outsourcing the firms or employees. Now, there are around 1,600 employees working against 2,400 posts. Out of the 1,600, more than 700 is outsourced.”

“The union leaders have been demanding to stop employment on a contractual basis as well as outsourcing. “Private firms exploit sanitation workers. The government should recruit the sanitation workers on regular posts so they no one exploit them. Ironically, the MCA recruited 126 persons during the first wave of Covid-19. That was the time when close relatives did not touch the packed dead body and our workers did all the odd jobs in quarantine centres. After the end of the pandemic wave, the MC sacked them all. It is inhuman.”

Malwinder Singh Jaggi, Commissioner, MCA, said, “We have written to the state government for recruiting safai karamcharis at the MC. Our sanitation staff is working competently against the spread of dengue. However, if the government fills all the vacant posts, we would be more efficient to fight against the pandemic or any health emergency. Hopefully, the government would recruit sanitation workers.

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