Employee faction drops demand for enhancement for retirement age

Decks may get cleared for end to impasse

Jehangir Rashid
SRINAGAR, June 21: In a major development that may break the dead lock between striking Government employees and State Government, the Jammu and Kashmir Government Employees Joint Action Committee (JKGEJAC) today offered to drop the demand of enhancement of retirement age if the Government fills up the vacant posts in Government departments on fast track basis.
The two factions of Employees Joint Action Committee headed by Ram Kumar Sharma and Shabir Ahmad Langoo today formed a united forum of the Government employees, Jammu and Kashmir Government Employees Joint Action Committee (JKGEJAC).
Addressing a joint press conference, Ram Kumar Sharma said that JKGEJAC is ready to give up the demand of the enhancement of the retirement age if the Government takes up the recruitment of unemployed youth on fast track basis.
“The State Government is giving an impression that the employees have a single point agenda of enhancement of retirement age from 58 to 60 years. This is not true as this forum has always vouched for the regularization of daily wagers, casual and season workers appointed after 1994 and completed seven years. We are ready to give up on the demand on enhancement of retirement age if the government expedites the employment process of the unemployed youth in the State,” said Sharma.
It may be mentioned here that Chief Minister Omar Abdullah ruled out the enhancement of the retirement age of the Government employees last week. There is also resentment within the ranks of the JCC of the Government employees over the enhancement of the retirement age issue.
If the JCC leaders go soft on the issue after resignation of senior trade union leader Khursheed Alam from his service, the employee-Government stand off over the implementation of last years agreement between the two parties may end soon. The retirement age is considered to be the major stumbling block in the implementation of the agreement.
In the meantime, Sharma made a frontal attack on the Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) leaders Mohammad Khursheed Alam and Abdul Qayoom Wani and accused them of hijacking the genuine demands of the Government employees.
Sharma said that Alam and Qayoom have turned the JCC into their own house and are carrying their personal agenda while taking the refuge under the genuine demands of the Government employees. He said two factions of Government employee unions had already backed out of JCC adding the backing out of his and Shabir Langoo’s faction have reduced the membership to two constituents of JCC headed by Alam and Qayoom.
“When the Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) was formed it consisted of six factions. The KAS Officers Association and Civil Secretariat Employees Union walked out of the JCC. As I and the EJAC headed by Shabir Ahmad Langoo too have walked out the membership of the JCC is limited to EJAC-Khursheed and EJAC-Qayoom,” said Sharma.
He said that JKGEJAC would hold a convention at Srinagar in the first week of July in which the future course of action would be chalked out. He added that the convention would be a grand success and employees of varying departments belonging to the different regions of the State would take part in the convention.
“Our doors are open for the like minded employees and both Khursheed Alam as well as Qayoom Wani can also join us provided they shun the dictatorial attitude. These people take the decisions themselves and then back out. This is not their personal struggle and this is the struggle of 4.5 lakh employees of the State. This forum would represent the genuine aspirations of the Government employees and regularization of daily wagers would be on top of our agenda,” said Sharma.
Sharma said that the State Government should implement the recommendations of the Drabu committee that had suggested the handing over the Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) to the Jammu and Kashmir Bank. He said if this is not possible then Government should allocate a budgetary support to the PSUs functioning in the State.
Speaking on this occasion, Aijaz Ahmad Khan, spokesman EJAC-Kashmir said that Chief Minister Omar Abdullah should take personal interest and ensures that the services of daily wagers are regularized. He lend his support to the statement of Sharma that the JKGEJAC is ready to give up on its demand on increasing the retirement age of Government employees provided jobs are given to the unemployed youth.
“This forum represents the employees and the working class of the State and there would be no leader of this forum. It has been observed that the leaders hijack the common agenda and sell out the interests of the employees for petty considerations. This is the collective leadership of the employees and nobody would be allowed to exploit the sentiments of the employees,” said Ajaz.
The decision to form JKGEJAC was formed after the two day State level session of both the EJAC-R and EJAC-Kashmir. The session was attended by Purshottam Sharma, Rafiq Ahmad Khanyari, Balwan Singh Jamwal, K. A Dewani, Syeda Ladakhi, Baboo Hussain Malik, Javed Ahmad Akhoon, Seva Ram Rathore, Ishtiyaq Ahmad Beigh, Gulzar Ahmad Banday, Sanjay Dhar, Sheikh Majid, G M Shagoo, Janmah Kour, G M Rathore, G N Darzi, Bashir Ahmad Ganie, Rafeeqa Jeelani, A. R Hafiz, Gazi Abdul Aziz, Molvi Mohammad Ramzan, Ghulam Hassan Khan, Ghulam Mohi-ud-din Behrampori, Farhat Trali, Tasleema Khan, Rafiqa Khanam, Bashir Ahmad Mir, Malik Ghulam Hassan, Nazir Ahmad Qari, Tasleema Subhan and others.