Over 3,000 civic employees returned to work on Wednesday as Patna Municipal Corporation Staff Union called off its three-day strike after “healthy” talks with urban development and housing minister Prem Kumar.
The grade III and IV workers resumed duty in the second half of the day. By the evening, the accumulated trash was carted away from most of the city roads.
“We had a favourable interaction with minister Prem Kumar this (Wednesday) morning. He listened to our grievances and assured us of taking necessary action as early as possible,” said Chandra Prakash Singh, the president of Patna Municipal Corporation Staff Union.
Singh said the minister would hold an “exhaustive” meeting with union representatives on October 15. “We called off the strike in view of the minister’s positive response,” he said.
On the issues discussed at the meeting, Singh said: “The municipal workers were apprehensive that the civic body would be privatised and they would lose their jobs. But the minister said the government had no intention of privatising PMC and no worker would be terminated. He also said the widows of deceased municipal workers would receive lifetime family pension.”
The urban development minister told The Telegraph: “The representatives of the PMC staff union met me at my residence and I told them that the new venture of getting the sanitation work done by Bihar Urban Infrastructure Development Corporation will not cost the job of any worker.”
Residents of several areas in Patna heaved a sigh of relief after the strike was called off. “Around 5pm, some municipal workers arrived with a vehicle and carted away garbage. The stench had become unbearable,” Ravi Kumar, a resident of the Boring Road area, said.