VISAKHAPATNAM : Even after the strike was called off by the recognised union of GVMC, the streets of Visakhapatnam remained littered with garbage Friday. About 80 per cent of the sanitary workers of GVMC, affiliated to AITUC, CITU, TNTUC and a few other unions, were still off duty. Poor sanitation in many areas is posing a threat to the public.
The strike was called off following discussions with the members of the GVMC workers union Thursday. However, the members of AITUC and CITU boycotted the discussions and did not end the strike and are determined to continue the protest. According to sources, around 3,000 employees under the GVMC unions called off the strike. Out of the 3,000 striking staff, around 2,000 are office employees and 1,000 sanitary workers. After the strike was called off, around 1,000 office employees and 480 sanitary workers joined duty Friday. However, 5,130 outsourcing staff are still on strike.
Union president V Vamana Rao said that the commissioner had promised to fulfil many of their demands and considering the state of employees, they called off the strike. He said that many of the employees did not join duty Friday but would do so Saturday.
AITUC GVMC workers union president M Anand Rao said that the staff had been on strike to get their demands conceded and alleged that issues were not sorted out. Calling off the protest without getting any clarity on their demands is not right, he added. He said that almost 90 per cent of the sanitary staff were members of their union and had been off duty and will not end the strike until the government considered and solved their problems. Surprisingly, even the TNTUC boycotted the discussions.
Meanwhile, the sanitation situation in the city is getting worse day by day. With intermittent rains adding to the mess, the locals complained of mosquito menace and prevalence of water-borne diseases in their areas. Areas like Akkayyapalem, MVP zone, Railway New Colony, Maddilapalem, Adarsh Nagar, Hanumanthuwaka and many other areas have become fertile grounds for diseases with piles of garbage on the streets. The locals complained that wine shops and hotels are worsening the situation.
In most of the areas, garbage is overflowing onto the roads. According to sources, only a small percentage of sanitary staff joined duty Friday and only 300 tonnes of garbage was cleared and that too with the help of contract workers.
GVMC commissioner J Pravin Kumar said that they had warned the outsourcing employees that legal action would be initiated against them if the latter did not join duty by Friday or Saturday.