After govt assurance, safai karamcharis call off stir
Moga March 22:
A state-level function would be held at the Martyrs' memorial on the Indo-Pak border at Hussainiwala in Ferozepur district on March 23 to coincide with the martyrdom of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev.
The function would be presided over by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. Stating this here today, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said that Hussainiwala would be developed as a major tourism destination.
Punjab Tourism and Heritage Development Corporation would carry out work to conserve the rest house and railway station there, which came up during the British rule. The Union Home Ministry also proposed to set up a big viewers gallery costing Rs six crore, as announced by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram during his visit to Hussainiwala in the past, Mr Sukhbir said.
Meanwhile, Mr Sukhbir Badal, who was here to mobilise party workers for the Khatkar Kalan rally of Shiromani Akali Dal, said that the Chief Minister, his cabinet colleagues as well as state BJP leaders would attend the function at the native village of Shaheed Bhagat Singh to commemorate his martyrdom on March 23. Mr Sukhbir directed former Punjab minister Tota Singh and Youth Akali Dal leader Baljinder Singh Brar to make arrangements for workers' participation in the Khatkar Kalan rally.
Chandigarh March 22:
After holding the state to ransom for many days, employees of eight safai karamchari unions today announced the withdrawal of their agitation.
The announcement was made by Kuldeep, convener of the Joint Action Committee of various employees’ unions, after negotiations with Local Bodies, Industry and Commerce Minister Manoranjan Kalia here today evening.
The issue had been raised in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha on several occasions by Abohar legislator Sunil Jakhar and others. Kalia had assured the House that talks were on with unions’ leaders and the matter would be resolved shortly. Today, after the last round of negotiations, Safai Karamchari Union leaders announced that they were withdrawing their agitation following an assurance by the minister.
Giving details of the negotiations, Kalia told reporters that the government had acceded to the genuine demands of the safai karamchari unions. After four hours of deliberations, it had been decided that the services of all the safai sewaks and sewer men would be regularised. Even the services of eligible clerks would be regularised.
Kalia said all the employees had been assured that they would be paid the minimum wage. Even contractors employing them would be asked to adhere to this. Some other grievances would be sent to an anomalies committee, which would look into them. Further, the strike period would be treated as on leave with pay.
Safai sewaks and Class-IV employees of 136 Municipal Councils of the state and two Municipal Corporations (Patiala and Bathinda) were on a strike demanding the regularisation of the services of the contractual staff. The news has come as a respite to the people of the state, who were bearing the brunt of it.
PATIALA: Following a strike by safai sewaks, heaps of garbage are lying open in all parts of the city. Class-IV employees of the Patiala Municipal Corporation had decided not to lift garbage from city-based dumps and had even thrown the same on some main roads to protest against the government.
However, after an assurance by the minister late this evening, union members of the agitating employees said they had decided to resume work from Monday late evening and clean the entire city in the next 24 hours. Patiala DC Dipinder Singh said by tomorrow, the city would be garbage free.
BATALA: Even as the ruling SAD is all geared up for a function to be organised on the martyrdom day of Shaheed Bhagat Singh at Khatkar Kalan on March 23, leaders of its alliance partner, the BJP, are trying to convince urban masses to attend the event with residents asking them to first get their streets cleared of garbage heaps.
Ambika Khanna, President of the BJP-controlled Batala Muncipal Council and daughter of Batala BJP MLA Jagdeesh Sahni, said her father was finding it difficult to convince the masses to attend the rally. “We are trying to tell the people that it is a matter between the state government and MC employees’ unions. However, residents are not ready listen to us,” she said. Similar reports are filtering in from Pathankot, where state Transport Minister, Master Mohan Lal, owing allegiance to the BJP, is the sitting MLA. Sources said all the 19 sitting BJP MLAs in Punjab were facing a similar predicament.