CPWs threaten to lock schools ahead of panchayat polls

CPWs during a protest demonstration on Monday. -Exelsior/Shakeel
CPWs during a protest demonstration on Monday. -Exelsior/Shakeel

Excelsior Correspondent
SRINAGAR, Feb 17: Scores of Contingent Paid Works and Cooks of Education Department today threatened to hamper the upcoming Panchayat election by padlocking the schools designated as polling booths, if their demands are not met.
The protestors assembled at Press Enclave here and protested against the Government for not accepting their demands including regularization of services and implementation of minimum wages. They raised anti-Government slogans and were carrying banners inscribed with their demands.
Mohammad Shafi, State President Contingent Paid Workers Union Jammu and Kashmir, said that DPCs should be implemented in the Education Department across all districts as per SRO 308. He threatened that if Government fails to extend the benefits of Minimum Wages Act by the end of this month, they would lock the schools.
“We will not let them use the schools for elections. We have provided land for the schools and deserve the benefits,” he said, adding their Zonal President, Sajad Ahmad, who lost his life in a fatal accident last week, should be given exgratia.
The protesting employees said that for last 25 years they had been running from pillar for the redressal of their issues but to no avail. “We are delivering services in different wings of Education Department for last 25 years. The Government has framed a policy by the name of SRO 308 wherein we get 50 quotas for regularization but we have been denied the benefits,” he said.
He added that during the unrest of 2016, they saved the schools from the arsonists. “At that time we put our lives at risk for the department. We came forward when everyone else including teachers who get fat salaries refused to guard schools,” he said.
The protestors alleged that the CPWs and cooks working in the Education Department have been victimized by ‘official apathy’, “We have been working on meager wages for years. We have knocked on the door of every bureaucrat and politicians but to no avail”, they said, adding that the court has directed the department to implement the Minimum Wages Employment Act but the department has not paid any heed.