Srinagar, Mar 20: Contractual employees of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) today staged a protest in North Kashmir’s Baramulla district and sought hike in salaries and absorption in newly created Community Development (CD) blocks.
Scores of employees assembled at Karewa Park in Baramulla and protested against what they termed ‘Government’s lack of clear cut policy’ for them. They included programme officers, management information system operators, technical assistants and Gram Rozgar Sahayaks working under Government of India’s MGNREGA programme.
The protesters said they have been holding such protests for past many years to seek regularisation of their jobs but the State Government was not ready to pay heed to their demands. “Government has always betrayed us. Last month we called off the protest when the officials assured redressal of our demands but they failed to deliver on their promises,” they added.
“If the Government fails to do anything, we will intensify our protest in the coming days and will launch statewide protests,” Bashir Nabi, district president of All Jammu and Kashmir MGNREGA Employees Association, said.
He said earlier the Government had promised that it would regularise their jobs but a notification to this effect never came. “Now, the MGNREGA workers have made up their mind that if nothing is done within weeks’ time, then the union will intensify the protests”, he said.
The protesters demanded that Government should frame a job policy for their regularisation and should absorb them in newly created Community Development blocks. “Nearly 177 blocks were recently created by the Government and we are working round the clock to make them successful but the Government is overlooking their role,” a protester said.
The protesters alleged that recently Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Abdul Haq Khan misled the people by lying in the State Legislative Assembly about the nature of their employment and that travelling allowance, compensatory allowance or border allowance is paid to them.
“No TA, CA and border allowance are paid to any employee except programme officers and the statement of the minister in absolutely wrong. Let him give proof where he has given TA, CA or border allowance to engineering, GRS staff etc,” a protestor said.