GUJRAT,>: Scores of sanitary workers who had served in villages under Punjab chief minister’s rural sanitation services (RSS) programme, have staged a protest demonstration in front of the deputy commissioner office against non-payment of their salaries for the last two months.
The protesters were demanding payment of their salaries ahead of Eid for which they have been approaching the respective authorities for the last two weeks.
The Punjab government had hired various private janitorial companies for cleaning of villages across the province and one of such companies had been given assignment for Gujrat district.
The RSS programme had been launched for eight months from March to December 2018 at the cost of Rs8 billion across the province after the two consecutive months of rural sanitation programme at the cost of Rs150,000 in each rural union council in 2017.
These companies also hired local workers for rural sanitation with Rs15,000 per month salary of each.
One of the protesters who was a foreman told Dawn that at least 150 workers were yet to be paid their two-month salaries and they were unable to run their family kitchen due to non-payment.
That is why, he said, the workers have decided to lodge a protest drive for the issuance of their salaries.
On the other hand, the elected representatives of local body institutions had already expressed their resentment over launching the RSS programme and most of them termed it a waste of financial resources.
They were of the view that instead of spending money on private janitorial companies, the government should allow the recruitment of sanitary workers on a regular basis for rural areas.
As far as the government cost on the project is concerned, each sanitary worker costs a sum of Rs25,000 per month but the workers were hired on the basis of Rs15,000 per month by the private janitorial companies.