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Sanitation workers to protest against demolition of their chawl they called home

Sanitation workers in Surat, Gujarat planned an unusual protest as they removed their shirts and sat on a dharna. The workers sat on the dharna to object to the destruction of the Valmiki Nagar Chawl in Rampura and asked about the construction of a new building at the same location. The workers staged the objection at the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) headquarters and obliged action. As many as 90 families of the Valmiki Samaj, who work as safai workers with the civic body, utilized to stay in the Valmiki Nagar chawl.

Due to the determination of the SMC, the workers were removed from their homes and were moved to the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) houses that are distributed over the city. The workers objected under the aegis of Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar Safai Kamdar Union and Akhil Bharatiya Safai Kamdar Sangathan. The workers took off the shirts inside the bases and chanted ‘Ram Dhun’ during the dharna.

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Dr. Ashish Naik, the deputy commissioner said the houses occupied by the workers were dilapidated and remarks were served to them, asking them to leave the houses. He appended that a structural stability report was also provided by Sardar Vallabhai National Institute of Technology (SVNIT). He said, “We are yet to take any decision to construct a new building on the same location.”The dharna lasted for over three hours and it was only after a 2-hour long discussion with the cops and senior civic bodies that the workers concluded the protest.


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