Complete strike observed in all Govt deptts across Valley

Jehangir Rashid
SRINAGAR, May 8: The State Government employees’ strike today paralyzed the functioning of Government offices across the Kashmir Valley. The strike was called by Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) of State Government Employees for non-fulfillment of their demands.
In the meantime, as part of the Civil Secretariat ghero programme, hundreds of Government employees reached Srinagar from winter capital today. These employee are led by Ram Kumar Sharma, Purshottam Sharma, Babu Hussain Malik, Dinesh Khajuria, Balwant Singh and Kulwinder Singh.
Security has been beefed around the Civil Secretariat and police has been put on alert to thwart assembly of Government employees near the Civil Secretariat. Police personnel in large numbers are being deployed around the Civil Secretariat to thwart the move and all entry points of Srinagar are being sealed for Government employees by the police.
The Law, Parliamentary Affairs and Rural Development Minister, Ali Mohammad Sagar today said that Government is in favour of solving the issues of the employees adding that Government does not believe in confrontation. He said that employee, leaders should come forward for dialogue with the government.
As the essential services including hospitals, public health engineering posts and power development department installations were kept out of the purview of the strike, the common masses didn’t face much problems due to the strike.
In the Government run educational institutions teachers did not turn up for their duties. However, there was no strike in the private schools and Banks.
The main gates of most of the offices including Agricultural complex, Engineering complex, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution Department and Directorate of Education were locked. As a result of this nobody could enter these offices and activities remained paralysed.
Reports from the other district headquarters and towns said that the strike was almost complete in all the Government departments.
The strike did not evoke much response in the Civil Secretariat and the offices functioned normally there. Most of the Civil Secretariat employees attended to their duties and the attendance was almost normal in all the offices.
The strike call was given by JCC and the different employee organizations against the alleged failure of the Government to fulfill their demands. The employees are demanding enhancement of the retirement age from 58 to 60 years, regularization of daily wagers engaged in various Government departments and removal of the disparities in the pay structure.
Meanwhile, the leaders of JCC and other employee organizations are meeting tomorrow morning to chalk out the further course of action. After the meeting these protesting employees are likely to march towards the Civil Secretariat and gherao the Civil Secretariat as part of their scheduled protest programme.
“The Civil Secretariat gherao programme is a reminder to the Government that they have failed in fulfilling their commitment made with the employees last year. If a Central Government employee retires at 60 years then what is the problem in applying the same parameters vis-à-vis the State Government employees,” said Mohammad Abbas, general secretary, ITI Employees Union while talking to Excelsior.
Abbas, who is associated with the Qayoom faction of the Employees Joint Action Committee said the Government has failed to implement in letter and spirit the commitment made regarding the regularization of the daily wagers. He said Government has also failed to remove the pay anomalies of the employees.

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