New Delhi, June 13: A day after the strike by sanitation staff ended, municipal staff worked on Saturday to clean up the streets of Delhi of the heaps of garbage accumulated over the past 12 days, while AAP and BJP leaders also came out with brooms and to participate in the cleanliness drive.
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday again expressed his solidarity with sanitation workers who had been on strike for 12 days, as he also took digs at the Aam Aadmi Party government and Bharatiya Janta Party over the delay in payment of salary to the sanitation staff.
Officials said the cleaning up will take another two days due to extent of accumulated garbage estimated at over 15,000 metric tonnes, which had led to threat of of outbreak of diseases.
"We have started the cleanliness work on war footing. Over 4,600 metric tonnes of garbage have been lifted from the streets of various areas in east Delhi since last (Friday) night," an official of East Delhi Municipal Corporation told IANS.
"It will take another 48 hours to clean the Delhi roads completely. To remove garbage piled up on streets is our first priority," he added.
The sanitation workers, who began work in the morning, said half of the roads in east Delhi have been cleaned.
"Fifty percent roads in various areas of east Delhi have been cleaned. Main streets of the areas including Preet Vihar, Jagatpuri, Krishna Nagar, and Laxmi Nagar have been cleaned completely," Akhil Bhartiya Safai Mazdoor Sangh president Krishnapal Parcha told IANS.
He also said that cleaning up will take another two days.
The strike of sanitation staff ended on Friday after an announcement by AAP that their payment arrears had been released. Mayors of the three BJP-run corporations in the city had also met Governor Najeeb Jung on the issue on Friday.
Gandhi, who again met sanitation workers on Saturday, said he will give his "whole life" to fight for the rights of the underprivileged.
"Yesterday (Friday), I was with them for 15 minutes but I am willing to give hours, days, months, years and my whole life for them," he said.
"If the poor is being suppressed, whether by people in suit-boot including (of) Aam Aadmi (Party), I will stand by them," he said.
Meanwhile, Digvijaya Singh took potshots at Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, tweeting: "AAP starts cleanliness drive after sanitation workers strike has been called off. Modi and Kejriwal are masters of nautanki."
Kejriwal's predecessor Sheila Dikshit said such a thing was "never witnessed" during the Congress rule and blamed the AAP.
"The problem has been created by the AAP. It is their responsibility to keep Delhi clean. For 15 years in Congress-ruled Delhi, never did MCD workers not get their salaries... a proper budget was made every year," she said.
After the blame game on Friday, AAP and BJP leaders came out with brooms in order to underscore their concern about cleanliness.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, along with AAP leaders Ashutosh and Alka Lamba took part in a cleanliness drive, in his Patparganj constituency.
Delhi BJP chief Satish Upadhyay, who also took part in a cleanliness drive near Akshardham temple nearby, said: "BJP councillors are inspecting sanitation work and our party workers too will also contribute to the task. In next 48 hours, the city will get back to normal."
Leader of Opposition Vijender Gupta, along with local councillors, came out to clean up in north Delhi's Rohini.