The Telegraph
Saturday , November 3 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Stink spills to coal town

- Sweepers strike over pay in three wards

Jharia’s fetid curse is now tormenting Dhanbad town.

The 45-strong broom brigade of private waste management agency A2Z — roped in by the municipal corporation this year — went on a strike from Thursday in what may be seen as a ripple effect of the month-long ceasework by 600 Mada sanitation workers over wage dues.

If the marathon Mada strike has left 20 lakh residents in Jharia, Katras, Govindpur, Nirsa, Putki and Baliapur grappling with maladies, not to mention stink and squalor, 60,000 people in wards No. 20, 24 and 30 are suddenly finding themselves surrounded by garbage mounds.

Sources said both solid waste disposal and drain clearing works have been suspended for the past 24 hours. “We started working on October 2. We have not been paid for the month gone by. So, we decided to protest,” said an A2Z sweeper.

Abhishek Vaidya, the assistant manager of A2Z Waste Management Private Limited in Dhanbad, however, blamed the sweeper strike on rumours that they would be deprived of their salaries just like Mada employees, who haven’t received remuneration for their work since 20 long months, triggering their strike from October 8.

“However, we have held talks with our workers and convinced them to revoke their strike. Salaries will be disbursed on November 5 or 6 once the attendance sheet is sent to Ranchi,” he added.

Ward No. 30 councillor Nirmal Mukherjee, on the other hand, expressed dissatisfaction over sanitation work being carried out by A2Z since October. The agency does not have required gear and vehicles to handle garbage. My ward has seen only partial garbage clearance no drain cleaning in the past one month,” he said, adding that he had brought the matter to the corporation’s notice.

Meanwhile, in Jharia, the looming scourge of vector-borne diseases like dengue, courtesy garbage mounds and sewage ponds everywhere, has prompted social activists, doctors and intellectuals to seek redress.

State president of Indian Medical Association (IMA) Dr A.K. Singh stressed that the situation was “really dangerous” and required immediate attention. “We will give a representation to deputy commissioner Prashant Kumar, seeking his intervention on the issue,” he said.

President of Dhanbad zilla chamber of commerce Rajiv Sharma has already handed over a letter to Kumar, calling the mess an epidemic bomb waiting to go off.

Founder of Paropkar Param Punya Samiti, a voluntary organisation, Prem Prakash Paswan too has rushed letters to Governor Syed Ahmed, deputy chief minister Hemant Soren and deputy commissioner Kumar, demanding urgent intervention.

Secretary of the Jharia unit of Indian People’s Theatre Association Israr Alam said they were planning a street play on Saturday to draw the attention of the state government towards the mess.

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