Long Struggle of Soldiers of Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan for Their Demands in Chandigarh

We all take a big sigh of relief when we see finally the basic civic sense of cleanliness has been inspired amongst us all, even though it came from the government’s Cleanliness drive, Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan. Across the India, you can find a realisation that we must not litter; we must keep our environment neat. The major change can be witnessed in the countryside where rural people are slowly realising the malignant effects of open defecation and started building and using toilets within their homes. 

This all sound so rosy and inspire hope for a better and clean environment to live in. We all pose with a broom in our hand and clean for some time and happy to see a picture in the newspaper and magazine. But, what about that person who does that day-in and day-out and that too without any camera filming him/her? Are we forgetting the real soldiers of the cleanliness drive? No, not the bureaucrats. Here, I’m talking about those workers who carry our filth and keep our surroundings clean – the safai karamcharis. What about expressing solidarity to them?

Why are the first line soldiers not given their due? Why are their contribution in making Chandigarh the City Beautiful not recognised and appreciated? 

Frustrated with MC Chandigarh’s continual ignoring their long-pending demands, the safai karamcharis stopped lifting of garbage from garbage bins across the city. The safai karmchari union members staged a protest outside the Medical Officer Health (MOH) garage in the Industrial Area, Phase I, and did not let any garbage lifting vehicle to move out and lift garbage from the city. 

Their key demands are: 

  • Filling of vacant 650 posts,
  • Regularisation of daily wagers,
  • Employment of family members of the deceased workers on compassionate grounds, and
  • Promotion of literate sanitation workers to the post of clerks.

There are 4,000 safai karamcharis (regular and contractual) who will stop cleaning the city roads and lifting the garbage during the strike.

The MC officials had a meeting with the safai karamchari union members which, according to Joint Commissioner, Manoj Khatri, was “positive” and he also added,”Most of their demands would be fulfilled as per rules.” Whereas the safai karamchari union members are unhappy with the meeting. 

No demand sound bizarre or absurd enough to not have been granted yet. 

It’s time we recognise the hard work of least celebrated soldiers of the country. Giving them the respect by granting them their rights and their demands is the least we can do for them.



Image Credits: Google Images

Source: The Tribune