Do not under-estimate the power of contractual employees: Harsh to Govt

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Jammu, 04-01-2018:   Concerned over the simmering discontent amongst the state govt employees against the most despicable apathy shown by the present dispensation towards their legitimate concerns besides their harassment and intimidation, Mr. Harsh Dev Singh JKNPP Chairman and Former Minister has cautioned the govt not to treat them as disposals. Regretting the neglect of the issues of these agitating employees who were being bullied, cane charged and made to languish on roads, he said that the govt employees formed the back bone of any govt and disregard for their concerns could prove highly counter-productive for any dispensation. “Do not under-estimate their power and don’t take them for granted” said Harsh adding further that the success or otherwise of govt policies largely depended upon the morale of its employees. They were not only opinion makers but influenced the political fortunes of the rulers by their working and public dealings, remarked Harsh. He was addressing a press conference in Jammu today to condemn the brutal lathi-charge on NHM employees particularly the female employees several of whom were seriously wounded.

Urging upon the Chief Minister to hold talks with the protesting sections of contractual employees including NHM, Contractual Lecturers, MG-NREGA employees besides Anganwari and Asha workers, Mr. Singh sought the early announcement of a Job policy and their time bound regularization so that they were assured of sustainable livelihood. He said that the plea of financial constraints was not tenable as the govt was not a fair weather shop so as to buy time for setting their demands till the improvement of its financial health. He maintained that the plea was further un-acceptable in a situation where the 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. He regretted that not only were the contractual employees being 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. Cautioning the govt to redress the genuine grievances of the contractual employees whose support base was growing with each passing day, Mr. Singh said that any further govt laxity on its part could lead to an explosive situation.

Terming the apathetic nonchalant approach of the govt as exploitative, Mr. Singh said that it 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 govt 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.

Remanding the govt once again of the 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.

Accusing the BJP-PDP govt of having belied the hopes and aspirations of educated youth, he 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 ruling alliance and could cost it dearly.

Mr. Gagan Pratap Singh State Secretary JKNPP was also present during the press conference.

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