HYDERABAD: The State government on Monday took a serious view of the ongoing municipal employees’ strike, particularly in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) limits, and warned of stringent action against contract workers if they didn’t report for duty immediately.
In fact, GHMC special officer Somesh Kumar, who held a teleconference with zonal commissioners and deputy municipal commissioners, directed all sanitary field assistants to report for duty by Tuesday morning or be prepared to lose their jobs. He also made it clear that salaries for the strike period wouldn’t be paid to the striking workers. With over 15,000-20,000 metric tonnes of garbage piled up mainly in residential areas, colonies, lanes and bylanes in the twin cities, the State government has decided to utilise the services of not only the police but also defence personnel.
Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao held a high-level meeting with his ministers and officials where it was decided to prepare detailed contingency plans to deal with the strike, which entered eighth day on Monday. The Chief Minister’s Office said the State government was positively inclined to address the demands of contract workers and urged them to get back to work immediately. “If the contract workers continue to be adamant, alternate arrangements will be made... by deploying the army, police and other government departments’ staff,” it added.
A defence spokesperson, however, said they have not yet received any directive from senior army officials to lend a helping hand to the State government. “Even if such a proposal has been made by the government, the army is yet to officially respond,” he added.
Hinting at which way the wind is blowing, the CMO alleged that the employees were being misled by ‘selfish workers’ unions’ and said the government had already promised a pay hike. It further pointed out that it was not proper for the workers to go on strike in this festive season. But, leaders of the municipal employees’ unions remained defiant and vowed to continue their stir till their demands were accepted.