Sanitation worker’s suicide sparks row in the MCD

- April 3, 2024
| By : Muhammad Tahir |

Dhananjay, a worker who allegedly died by suicide, blamed his seniors for forcing him to pay bribe in exchange of permanent position

SUICIDE NOTE: The deceased left a note where he mentioned being asked for a bribe of Rs 60,000

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has been caught in a controversy after Dhananjay, a safai karamchari, allegedly killed himself after blaming his senior officers for torturing and demanding a bribe.

The Delhi Safai Karamchari Aayog has demanded probe and strict action against culprits who have been blamed by Dhananjay in a suicide note for demanding Rs 60,000 in exchange for permanent appointment.

“My name is Dhananjay. I work in Punjabi Colony. My daroga’s name is Devendra and the inspector is Krishan Kewal. Both are responsible for my death. They are demanding Rs 60,000 in a bribe. So, I am killing myself,” he stated in a suicide note.

Dhananjay was working in Narela Zone of MCD for eight years on ‘karuna mulak’ basis (daily wager on compassionate ground) after being appointed in his mother’s place in 2016 following her death.

He was living with wife and a five-year-old son on rent at Vijay Chowk in Narela.

Rajender Kumar, his elder brother, seconded the allegations made by Dhananjay.

“On February 15, I was also present when Devendra and Kewal Krishan demanded a bribe for making him permanent. I’m an eyewitness. He went to them several times but they did not let him join duty, despite him submitting medical and fitness reports. There were many responsibilities on him, like rent, his wife’s treatment. He was also not completely fit,” added Kumar.

Dhananjay’s wife Rani has written a letter to the Delhi Safai Karamchari Aayog chief and demanded justice.

She wrote that her husband was unable to pay bribe to both the officers due to his dire financial situation. They threatened to make his service record poor. She also alleged that they used derogatory and racist words against the Dhananjay and that he was mentally disturbed and therefore, died by suicide.

The Chairman has promised all possible support to the family. The police are also probing the case.

Patriot tried to contact Devendra, who is one of the alleged culprits. But he didn’t respond. MCD Commissioner Gyanesh Bharti also didn’t respond to the call and questionnaire from Patriot.

The MCD safai karamcharis have been facing problems since long. They have been holding protests from time to time, demanding permanent placement as well as salary.

In January this year too, sanitation workers held a protest outside MCD headquarters, urging regularisation of their employment and settlement of arrears. Patriot had reported on the matter. The government made several promises but their problems could not be sorted.

Sanjay Gehlot, Chairman of Delhi Safai Karamchari Aayog, said, “There are around 78,000 workers in MCD. They are divided into three categories — permanent, daily wagers (karuna mulak) and substitute (evajidaar). The main problem of these workers is that they haven’t been made permanent for 20-25 years now. A policy made in 1978 stated that the government will make people, who have been working for around two years, permanent every calendar year. But they did not follow the policy.”

He added further, “Now this is 2024, and they say that whoever has been working since 2000 will be made permanent. However, at this rate they can’t make all workers permanent by 2050. Also, political parties interfere in these decisions. The reality is that the Chief Minister of Delhi is responsible for it. If they’d paid MCD on time, this situation wouldn’t have arisen today.”

When apprised of government’s claims of paying money on time, Gehlot said, “It is like oont ke muh me zeera (it is very little). There are 25,000 workers in line and they have made only 2,000 people permanent. They can make all the appointments in a single day but don’t want to do it. They probably think that if they do it all, who will vote for them. So, there is some reason. I am fulfilling my responsibility as Chairman of the commission as best as I can.”

Gehlot added about Dhananjay’s case, “The daroga and inspector (ASI — Assistant Sanitary Inspector) trouble the workers to earn money. They were demanding Rs 60,000 from Dhananjay to make him permanent. So, he became mentally disturbed and killed himself.”

Gehlot added that he visited Dhananjay’s house and also that the union is demanding action against the officials.

“I personally visited Dhananjay’s house and demanded a case against the culprits. He mentioned two people responsible for his suicide and alleged bribe and torture. We have also sent complaint to police so the DCP will take action and file FIR against them acting on the suicide note.”

Gehlot said that they will try to get a job for Dhananjay’s wife so that she can bring up her family.

“His wife also wrote a letter demanding justice, so we will do something for her. We have also appealed to all workers not to resort to extreme measures like suicide.”

DCP of Outer North Delhi and ACP Narula did not respond to the Patriot’s calls.