Hitesh Chavda (MeraNews, Nadiad): A sweeper with the Mahemdabad municipality attempted suicide on Friday alleging that he had not received his wages for three months and that he had no money to celebrate Diwali.

Manish Chhotabhai Solanki, 30, had been on a fast with other sweepers in protest against unpaid salaries.

“He has no money to celebrate Diwali this year since no salary has been paid for three months. Today, he tried to end his life,” said Shantilal Vaghela, a social activist from Nadiad.

“The patient is stable. He is out danger. He had consumed sulphide powder. It will take 72 hours for him to recover,” said Dr Harish Nagrani of the private hospital in Nadiad where Solanki is being treated.

“They (the sweepers) were on strike against the state government, not against us. You can ask for other details from the sanitary inspector,” said Ashish Darji, chief executive officer of the Mahemdabad municipality, when contacted by MeraNews. He declined to provide further information.

The Mahemdabad municipality employs 160 sweepers on a permanent basis. The workers on strike are daily wagers, hired on a contractual basis.

“The state government is not serious about the common man’s problems. These sweepers are working hard to keep our country clean. On one side, the government is conducting Garib Kalyan Melas, but it has issues in paying remuneration to these poor sweepers,” said Gautam Chauhan, a member of the Gujarat legislative assembly (MLA) representing the Congress party, who visited Solanki in hospital.