Jammu, 14-08-2018: Peeved over the callous and apathetic attitude of successive govts towards the genuine concerns of contractuals and other lower rung employees of the state, a huge contingent of Panthers Party workers led by its Chairman and Former Minister Harsh Dev Singh and Young Panthers President Yash Paul Kundal today held a massive demonstration at Exhibition ground Jammu today on the eve of 72nd Independence day of the country. The agitated protestors raised slogans seeking a fair deal to the Daily rated and casual workers, RETs and contractual lecturers, Angawari and Asha workers, MGNREGA and NHM workers, Home Guards and SPOs who were made to render their services for negligible wages which too remained unpaid for several months despite the country celebrating its 72nd Independence day on 15th August. The NPP activists raised slogans against BJP, Congress, NC and PDP who had been holding out lofty promises with these marginalized sections of employees and giving them tall assurances during elections and other national functions only to disappoint them when it came to fulfilment of such promises.
Appealing the Governor to announce a suitable Job policy on 15th August for these exploited sections of state employees, Mr. Singh said that such a noble gesture would surely go down as one of the most exemplary celebrations of Independence in the history of the state. It would make the Independence Day truly meaningful for thousands and thousands of families in the state who are facing starvation and livelihood problems despite being termed as govt employees in free India, observed Mr. Singh. He said that while the successive govts had been trumpeting and promising empowerment of youth all these years, the delivery on such promises had been in inverse proportion to the articulation of such promises with educated youth being the most exploited lot adding that the fruits of Independence had been reaped primarily by the elite class and political leadership.
Castigating the erstwhile BJP-PDP rule, he said that whereas its Ministers and MLAs had voted themselves hefty hikes with respect to their salaries, TA, DAs, PAs, sitting allowances, car and housing advances, CDF and other perks and privileges including luxury cars, the lesser paid contractuals and daily rated workers were denied regularization and wage revision on the pretext of financial constraints. He regretted that not only were the contractual employees denied their legitimate right of regularization but the negligible honorarium fixed for them also remained unpaid for months and years forcing them to starvation. He said that while any respectable person could afford to remain hungry, his self respect could never allow him to see his family starving despite he having executed his part of the assigned duties.
Terming the apathetic nonchalant approach of the successive govts as exploitative, Mr. Singh said that administration would have to evolve a suitable job policy commensurate with its oft repeated slogans and thereby assuring them job security and sustainable livelihood as a welfare state. He said that thousands of highly qualified youth had been engaged on consolidated basis in various govt Deptts by the govt since the launch of the said schemes without revising their salaries or framing any policy with respect to their regularization. He said that such employees were made to work like bonded labourers on negligible honorarium despite repeated govt assurances of pay parity with their counterparts in the regular establishments.
Decrying the payment of lesser wages to these contractual employees against their regular counterparts, Mr Singh said that the existing policy was not only discriminatory but also violative of constitutional guarantees. He said that even the Supreme Court in a plethora of Judgements has observed that denying equal pay for equal work to temporary employees was oppressive, suppressive and coercive as it compelled involuntary subjugation.
Pointing towards the successive rulings of the Supreme Court, he said that the apex court had very categorically ruled that paying less wages to an employee as compared to a similarly situated constituted exploitative subjugation and hence violative of the fundamental guarantees enshrined in the constitution.
Mr. Yash Paul Kundal while accusing the BJP-PDP govt of having belied the hopes and aspirations of educated youth, said that issuance of highly perverse SRO-202, depletion of Job avenues, under employment of highly educated youth and maltreatment of contractuals had created huge resentment amongst the young fraternity of the state against the erstwhile alliance which had severely dented its credibility. He said that Governor was the only hope for all such categories of contractuals, daily rated workers besides RETs.
Prominent among those who spoke on the occasion included Rajesh Padgotra, Gagan Partap Singh, Khajoor Singh, Rajeshwar Singh Sambyal, Capt. Narotam Singh, Capt. Sultan Singh, Mohinder Singh, S. Bejinder Pal Singh, B.D Sharma, Arun Khajuria, Rashpaul Singh, Udhayveer Singh, Krishan Singh, Ashok Chouhan, Subash Charak, Sansar Chand, Rakesh Verma, Joginder Singh, Naresh Kumar besides others.