Rs.551 crore loan to pay municipal workers’ salaries: Kejriwal

New Delhi, Feb 3 (IANS) Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday announced a loan of Rs.551 crore for payment of salaries to striking workers of two municipal corporations in the national capital and urged them to call off their strike.

Employees of Delhi’s three civic bodies — North Delhi Municipal Corporation, South Delhi Municipal Corporation and East Delhi Municipal Corporation — have been protesting against the non-payment of salaries, directing their ire at both the Delhi and central governments for the last eight days.

“We are giving Rs.551 crore to the north and east municipal corporations as loan for payment of salaries of workers,” Kejriwal said in Bengaluru, where he is undergoing treatment at a naturopathy centre.

The North Delhi Municipal Corporation will also be paid Rs.142 crore against the stamp duty bill.

“It is with great difficulty that we have been able to find this Rs.550 crore for loan. The Delhi government is facing Rs.3,000 crore value added tax shortfall,” Kejriwal said soon after he announced about the loan.

“We had to postpone some of our present commitments to the next year to manage this money,” he tweeted.

The strike called by civic employees in the national capital over non-payment of their salaries continued for the eighth day on Wednesday with thousands of workers blocking major roads and creating traffic jams and inconveniencing commuters.

As part of their agitation, sanitation workers of the civic bodies on Wednesday staged demonstrations on major roads in Delhi, including the National Highways that skirt it. Among others, traffic was blocked on east Delhi’s Vikas Marg, inconveniencing commuters.

Hospitals and schools run by civic bodies were also affected as doctors, hospital staff, teachers and school employees joined the protest.

Protestors dumped garbage on roads and set ablaze tyres at various places. With uncollected garbage strewn along roads, an overpowering stench pervaded most municipal areas.

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