RAWALPINDI– Sanitary workers of Rawalpindi have staged a protest demonstration against the privatization of the sanitation department of the city.

According to sources, the sanitary workers gathered in front of the Rawalpindi Press Club and chanted slogans against Punjab government. President of the Municipal Workers League Haji Farooq Khan, General Secretary Younas Ghori, Chairman Changaiz Akhtar Bhatti, Senior Vice Chairman Malik Shafiq and Deputy General Secretary Arif Mito Masih were leading the protest demonstration.

Speaking on the occasion, the leaders said that the government was going to pay billions of rupees to a Turkish company for the work they could do in millions of rupees. They further said the privatization of the sanitation system was a conspiracy to snatch the only source of income of the poor workers, therefore they would never accept the decision.

It is relevant to mention here that contract of the sanitation of Rawalpindi is going to be awarded to a Turkish company on the directives of Chief Minister Punjab, Mian Shahbaz Sharif and approval of the decision has also been given. The Turkish company would be paid $22 for picking each ton of garbage, while the current cost of cleaning of one ton of garbage is $5.

According to sources, with the award of the contract of the sanitation, a cleanliness tax would be imposed on industrialist, shopkeepers and citizens of Rawalpindi.

The sanitation workers unions demanded of the chief minister Punjab to cancel the privatization of the sanitation system and threatened to launch protest movement in the entire province with the collaboration of sanitation workers unions of all the districts of Punjab if the decision was not taken back.

Meanwhile, residents of New Afshan Colony in the Cantonment Board Rawalpindi have expressed concern over the poor sanitation of the colony and dilapidated condition of the streets.

Talking to INP, a group of the residents said that heaps of garbage and wastes in the vacant plots in the colony were causing stench and pollution in the area but the concerned authority was paying no heed to the cleanliness of the area. They said that the sanitation workers did not visit the colony regularly.The residents further said that streets and open sewerage lines are broken and filthy water accumulated in the streets. They said they paid property tax to the Cantt Board but their basic problems were not resolved.

They demanded of the CEO Rawalpindi Cantt Board to visit the area to witness the derelict condition and direct the concerned authorities to ensure maintenance and proper sanitation of the area.