By Terry Xu
A reader wrote in via the Readers’ Contribution to highlight an issue after helping a hawker that operate at the hawker center at Block 505, Jurong Street 52 to read 2 letters from Jurong Town Council (TC) and National Environment Agency (NEA).
The letter state the NEA will be conducting a quarterly spring cleaning from 3 March – 5 March with the number of days being increased from the usual 2 days to 3 days because Jurong TC is also conducting a high level (above 3 metres) cleaning during the period of 3 March 2014 to 5 March 2014.
The letter from Jurong TC shows that during 3 Mar – 5 Mar, only 7 stalls out of the whole hawker center is receiving the high level cleaning while the other stalls will be closed an additional 3 days on the other designated dates. (Refer the attached letter).
The reader asked if this meant a whole hawker center is being closed for an additional day because 7 stall is receiving the high level cleaning and the same 7 stalls would only need to be closed for 3 days instead of 6 days for the rest of the 53 other hawker stalls. (3 days from 3 Mar – 5 Mar plus an additional 3 days schedule by Jurong TC)
The reader further asked why Jurong TC could not have left the NEA quarter spring cleaning as the usual 2 days and schedule all hawkers to have the high level cleaning schedule on others days or it could have perhaps spend more budget and get more cleaning contractor to come in and complete the high level cleaning in 3 days together with the quarterly NEA spring cleaning.
TOC dropped down on the 3rd day of the spring cleaning, 5th March to take a look at the situation.
At the hawker centre, a few hawkers were finishing up their spring cleaning and we asked what they understood about the change of dates. It was said that a few years back, the cleaning was scheduled for 3 days till complains from the hawkers made the authorities to reschedule into two days, only this year the schedule has been extended to three days. The stalls added that they understand from the town council that the extra day was for the cleaning of high places but as all of them were stall assistants, they could not comment further.
From observations, the ceiling do not seem to be cleaned except for the portion where the 7 said stalls were. They had their pipes cleaned and painted, which is a stark contrast with the pipes on the opposite end of the hawker centre. By lunchtime, the no one is seen working on the high level cleaning.
In fact, none of other pipes of the other sections of the hawker centre looked as if it was cleaned nor was the high level areas.
We then called the Jurong Town Council on this issue and Mr Malcolm Lim gave us a reply on the issue. He said that this schedule was suggested by the hawker association of this block and was approved by NEA. He added that all the pipes have been cleaned and only those which are unable to be cleaned will be painted.
Although Mr Lim kindly provided a reply to us but the questions as what the reader has pointed out remains unanswered.
Why was there a need to extend one day for the annual spring cleaning for the sake of cleaning 7 stalls which affects the other 53 stalls. And also why is the Town Council unable to arrange for all the pipes of the stalls to be cleaned and painted at the same day?
If the extra one full day was meant for the cleaning and painting, why not just squeeze to have all the stalls cleaned instead of having the stalls to close for an extra four days while the extra one day of the spring cleaning was barely used for any cleaning of the high level places of the hawker centre.
Who would be responsible for their losses during this additional four days of closure this year?
The reader ended saying, “I feel that it is very unfair for the rest of the hawkers that is paying the same rental yet had to suffer an additional income lose from such poor planing.”
Note: For readers writing in via readers’ contribution, please kindly leave your contact email so that we can clarify on certain details. There are many stories that we were not able to follow up due to details provided in the submission being not adequate.