Monday, December 5, 2022

Nagaland: DMC workers strike leave piles of garbage

Staff Reporter

Heaps of garbage have piled up at several locations here as Dimapur Municipal Council (DMC) workers under the banner of Dimapur Municipal Council Employees Welfare Union (DMCEWU) resumed their “No Pay, No Work” agitation till the State government fulfilled their demand.
On Wednesday, commuters, particularly in the main town areas, were seen covering their faces to ward off the foul smell emanating from the garbage heaps.
When contacted, DMC administrator Albert Ezung informed Nagaland Post that the DMC workers had suspended the sanitation service since Tuesday.
He said a meeting between the DMC employees and State government representatives was held, but its outcome was not known. Though the government had assured to look into the matter, it was taking time.
He admitted that no one could be forced to work without payment, adding that these workers had to feed their families and also pay rents. Around 170 sanitation workers had joined the strike, he added.
Ezung clarified that the intention of the workers was not to cause trouble or inconvenience the public as all these months they had been rendering their service. But, the delay in release of their salaries had compelled them to take such a major step, he pointed out.
“The government is also trying to resolve the issue and we are also expecting a positive response,” he said.
Referring to the salary issue, Ezung mentioned that more than 50% of the revenue was generated from the urban utility fee. But, since the government had barred DMC from collection of urban utility fee, the financial condition of the council had been severely affected, he added.
Meanwhile, New Market Business Owners’ Association (NMBOA) president Kughali Chishi, vice-president Kuhoi Yeptho and GB Khekishe Aye, all of whom spoke to this reporter, expressed their grievances, stating that the garbage piling up in the area was causing inconvenience to everyone in the area.
Yeptho said that New Market being the business hub, huge wastes were generated daily that were usually collected during the evening, which had stopped completely since Tuesday evening.
Due to the workers’ agitation, normal businesses had been hampered as shoppers were unable to walk around because of the foul smell, while some faced difficulties in opening their shops as garbage had piled up right in front of their shops’ doors.
There were around 1,300 shops, excluding the street vendors, in New Market area, Yeptho mentioned, cautioning that if the agitation continued, there would be more chaos, making life difficult both for the public and business establishments.
He disclosed NMBOA had to entrust some of its staff to take up the onerous task of clearing the garbage from certain parts to at least get relief from the foul smell.
Yeptho also extended support to the agitating workers, saying that “The workers have every right to agitate since they have been doing their duty for months even without payment”.
He appealed the State government to hear to the plea of DMCEWU considering the health hazard of the citizens in general.
On the other hand, New Market Ward-19 GB and NMBOA also warned shopkeepers outside the vicinity of New Market area not to thrown their garbage in the New Market area. They warned of imposing heavy fine if anyone was caught violating their diktat.

DMC employees temporarily suspend agitation till Nov 8
DMC Employees Welfare Union (DMCEWU) has resolved to temporarily suspend the ongoing “no pay no work” agitation against non-payment of salaries till November 8, 2022.
In a press release, DMCEWU president T Revo Anar and general secretary Agan Rimai informed that the decision was taken at an emergency meeting of executive body held on October 26, 2022 after receiving a letter from the Municipal Affairs Department.
The house, however, resolved that government’s failure to fulfil demand within stipulated period would force the union to go for indefinite agitation, adding that henceforth and no appeal or request would be entertained.

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