The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government and the sewer cleaners, on Tuesday (24 September), clashed over lack of basic facilities and stoppage of welfare measures for want of funds with the municipal corporations of Delhi (MCDs).
While the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis (NCSK) office-bearers told the media that no health cards had been issued to the sewer cleaners and full compensation in case of death had not been paid to their families, Delhi Social Welfare Minister Rajendra Pal Gautam rejected the allegations and accused them of politicising the issue.
The NCSK members told the media 64 sewer cleaners died in the city since 1993, but the families of 18 of them were yet to receive the Rs 10 lakh compensation. Of the 46 families, some had not received the full compensation, said NCSK Chairman Manhar Valjibhai Zala.
“While the government paid only Rs 2-3 lakh, records showed full payment. On the remaining amount, they say it will be released soon,” an NCSK member Ganga Ram Ghosre told IANS. The compensation should be released in one go, he added.
Ghosre said the government in 2015 had promised health cards to safai karamcharis, but nothing had been done.
Responding to the NCSK charges, the Delhi Social Welfare Minister said several health schemes were being run by the Delhi government and “the safai karamcharis can benefit from them.”
A heated argument ensued when an NCSK member said the MCD told the commission that no money for health cards had been allocated. Gautam accused Ghosre of politicising the issue and blamed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for it.
“The Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari has said he will ensure that MCDs receive the money directly from the Centre, if the BJP wins municipal elections. But nothing has been done. Also, the Delhi government has not been given funds by the Centre for the corporations. You (Ghosre) are politicising the issue,” Gautam said.
He said while the municipal corporations had plans for welfare of safai karamcharis, the Delhi government was working on it.
Ghosre later told IANS while 200 sewer cleaning machines had been brought not all were operational. Only 35-40 machines had been given to the workers, he added.
No funds had been released for education loans to the worker’s children and all basic welfare facilities had been stopped for want of funds, he alleged.
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)