Delhiites, get angry, teach them a lesson. Their cynical political game has just gone too far. It has started affecting your lives. If that does not upset you nothing will. Send this message loud and clear to both the AAP and the BJP: stop this nonsense now. We already had too much of your tu tu mein mein. If don’t mend your ways get ready to be punished.
Really, how bad can it get? As employees of the three civic bodies in Delhi go on strike again, the fourth in the last 12 months, over non-payment of salary, garbage accumulates in the city, young children of civic body schools are sent back home, hospitals and dispensaries catering to the poor remain affected and maintenance of parks and cleaning of streets go unattended. While all these threaten to make life hell for the common man, the AAP government and the BJP, which controls the corporations, are busy fighting a political battle over the matter. To those not in the know, the three civic bodies cater to more than 90 per cent of the basic amenities of the city.
The Arvind Kejriwal-led government claims – Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia made clear as much yesterday – that it has cleared the dues of the corporations and it was up to the latter to make payments to their staff. While the civic bodies have not come up with a clear denial to it, the BJP has been busy slamming the government over the issue. For both parties it is only another episode in their running political battle in Delhi. It’s a battle where noise overwhelms the truth and nothing is clear.
But what about the staff of these civic bodies? Their salaries have not been paid for months. And they are not highly paid people. Nothing has moved in their favour despite repeated strikes. Citizens may be angry with them for littering garbage on the streets, but they must realize it’s an act of utter frustration. These people also have families to take care of and the right to lead their lives normally. Students in the civic body schools are mostly from poor families. The continuing protest by unpaid teachers may lead to them dropping out. Someone must spare a thought for them.
For the corporations it has been a lingering crisis ever since the single municipal body managing the city was trifurcated in 2012. While the number of staff and expenses have gone up almost two-fold, the means of revenue remain unchanged. East Delhi and North Delhi corporations have been affected particularly badly. In fact, they have called for a unification to tide over the continuing problem.
This is a genuine problem; why cannot political parties sit and work a way out? What we see instead is an unending bitter, pointless fight between two parties. Chief Minister Kejriwal has tweeted calling for dissolution of the civic bodies and holding of fresh elections while the BJP has reacted to it sharply.
Who’s paying for it? The ordinary citizens of Delhi. If the present protest, it enters its third day today, continues then all of us are bound to suffer. Issuance of birth certificates and collection of property tax has been affected already. And checks on illegal construction have been hit too. How long can we allow this farce involving the big parties to carry on?
There has to be an end to this. And Delhiites, unless you get angry nothing will change.