Sanitation workers' strike hits Sonepur

Sanitation in 11 wards of the municipality here has been badly hit as workers of the private party, which has been entrusted with the cleaning work of these localities, have gone on a strike for the past five days, demanding a solution to issues related to their employees provident fund (EPF).

By SUDEEP KUMAR GURU
  • Published 15.08.18
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Garbage strewn on a road in Sonepur. Telegraph picture 

Sonepur: Sanitation in 11 wards of the municipality here has been badly hit as workers of the private party, which has been entrusted with the cleaning work of these localities, have gone on a strike for the past five days, demanding a solution to issues related to their employees provident fund (EPF).

Piles of garbage can be spotted dumped in the roadsides in several parts of the town as the areas have not been cleaned for the past five days because of the strike.

Authorities of the Sonepur Municipality admitted that residents of the town had been suffering and said the issue would be resolved shortly. For the time being, the municipality has engaged its own workers to take up the cleaning work, but they are far less in number, and it is difficult on their part to cover the whole town.

Sources said the cleaning work of 11 wards has been outsourced and entrusted to a Bhubaneswar contractor, Surendra Barik, for which he is paid Rs 8.10 lakh every month. Barik has employed 94 workers for the job. However, the residents said the figure was inflated and only fewer workers turned up for the work.

Areas such as Gokarneswarpada, Ghodaghatpada, Tikiripada, Dherapada, Badbazar, Gadbhitar, Durga Temple Chhak, Shatinagar, Palace garden and Majhipada are facing the strike brunt as piles of garbage are found dumped.

According to the service condition, the workers are eligible for the EPF and both the contractor and the municipality are to contribute 50 per cent apiece towards it. The workers, however, allege that the municipality is not contributing its part and delaying inordinately. "We are forced to resort to agitation as the municipality authority had not contributed its share to our EPF," said an agitator.

But, the civic body's executive officer Ashok Mishra said the municipality was doing its best to resolve the issue related to the workers' EPF. "They are unnecessarily resorting to agitation, causing inconvenience to the residents. I hope they will join work shortly," Mishra said.