Sweepers pollute pilgrim city demanding wage hike

Bhubaneswar, Feb 16 (IANS) Cleaning workers have deposited garbage on the main street of Orissa’s pilgrim city of Puri, protesting against the local civic authorities having turned down their demand for a salary hike, official said Tuesday.

Heaps of garbage, comprising house waste and filth, littered the streets of the temple town, some 56 km from here. Experts say this may trigger health problems among residents and tourists, if not cleared soon.

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

They launched an indefinite strike Monday and piled up waste on the road, Puri municipality chairman Santi Lata Pradhan told IANS Tuesday.

‘They want implementation of sixth pay commission norms – a demand which we cannot fulfil immediately with our existing resources,’ she said.

‘We are trying to clear the garbage with the help of social activists and residents. We have already cleared some garbage today (Tuesday),’ she said.

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

Said tourist Ramaballav Mohanty: ‘It is shocking. The government should sort out the problem immediately.’

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