LWMC workers’ strike spells misery for citizens


–Heaps of garbage across city irk people as LWMC sanitary workers’ strike against nonpayment of salaries enters fourth day

–Spokesperson says Rs60m paid to Turk contractor, ‘LWMC chairman has sought end to strike’

LAHORE: Owing to the negligence and incompetence of Lahore Waste Management Company (LWMC) officials, nonpayment of salaries to sanitary workers for the past six months and their subsequent strike, the city of gardens has turned into a garbage dump.

As per the details, the sanitary workers have refused to collect waste from across the city, as a result of which even central locations such as Shadman, Garden Town, Icchra, Shah Jamal, Lawrence Road, Mozang, Birdwood Road, Lakshmi Chowk, Gawalmandi, Gulshane Ravi, Shadbagh and Garhi Shahu have flooded with heaps of garbage.

“The sanitation staff and garbage truck drivers have been on a strike for the past four days and are not performing their duties. The workers on Wednesday even staged an aggressive protest demonstration outside the LWMC office where they threw garbage to express their ire,” an official told Pakistan Today.

Majeed Gill, a sanitation worker of LWMC, said they had been denied their basic rights and the officials were “least bothered”.

“LWMC pays huge salaries to the company high-ups and ignores the lower staff. It is very difficult for us to work without salaries as we have families. We will not collect garbage until we get paid. We will take this protest to the next level if our grievances are not addressed,” he added.

Meanwhile, during negotiations with the sanitation staff, the officials of LWMC offered them a months’ salaries which they refused by saying they would not collect garbage from the city until they receive that of at least two months.

A resident of Shahjamal, Arshad Virk, while expressing his concern over the persisting odour and the threat all the garbage poses to human health, regretted that no official had ever even visited the areas “since the creation of Naya Pakistan”.

“It’s the people who are suffering due to the negligence of LWMC high-ups as all this garbage is resulting in the outbreak of different diseases. In my area, no worker or van has come to collect the garbage for the past week. The officials concerned should keep a check on the areas and we have nothing to do with the internal issues of the company,” he said.

A citizen of Gulberg, Ahsan Faraz, said it was not the first time that the residents of the area were having to face such a problem. “Nobody from LWMC is here to address our complaints and the waste collection helpline is but a drama as no one ever responds,” he said and demanded from the authorities to take necessary action.

A school headmistress from Shadman, Farzana Riaz, said the grounds surrounding the school had turned into dump sites. “Where is our government? The kids cannot play in these fussy grounds. Some of our students have also fallen sick owing to all this garbage. We are paying taxes for a clean environment and the government must ensure hygiene for the sake of the citizens’ health.”

Speaking to Pakistan Today, LWMC spokesperson Jamil Khawar said the company chairman and Lahore Deputy Commissioner Saliha Saeed had recently conducted a session with Turk contractors.

“An amount of Rs60 million has been paid to the Turk contractor and the LWMC chairman has also told them to ensure that the ongoing strike is ended and the city is cleaned,” he added.