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Garbage continues to pile up in pilgrim city Puri

Bhubaneswar, Feb 17 (IANS) Heaps of garbage continued to pile up in the main street of Orissa’s pilgrim city Puri as the indefinite strike by cleaning workers entered the third day Wednesday.

Instead of cleaning, the workers have been depositing garbage on the streets of the temple town, some 56 km from here. Despite repeated attempts by the residents to clean up with the help of other civic officials and social activists, the streets continued to be dirty.

‘We were able to clean only a small quantity of the waste,’ Puri Municipality chairman Santi Lata Pradhan told IANS Wednesday.

The situation has remained unchanged even after the police arrested at least 23 workers during the past two days for depositing garbage on the street.

Pradhan, who was seen carrying a broom and sweeping in parts of the city with her supporters, said the striking workers were threatening those engaged in removing the garbage. The workers also choked some drains, hours after the residents cleared them, she added.

The workers went on strike Monday, demanding implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission norms – a demand which Pradhan said the municipality cannot fulfil immediately with its existing resources.

Thousands of tourists and pilgrims visit the temple town every day as it is home to the Jagannath temple and Golden Sea Beach.

The city has about 800 temporary and permanent cleaning workers who are employed by the city’s municipality.

Experts say the garbage may trigger health problems among residents and tourists, if not cleared soon.

Some tourists and pilgrims said they were not able to move on the street and beach due to the stinking garbage.

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