Forest employees protest, demand pending wages

Daily wagers during a protest in Srinagar on Monday. -Excelsior/Shakeel
Daily wagers during a protest in Srinagar on Monday. -Excelsior/Shakeel

Excelsior Correspondent
Srinagar, Dec 20: The casual employees of the Forest Department from South Kashmir today protested here, demanding the release of wages that have been pending for the last two years.
Scores of employees gathered at Partap Park, Press Enclave, here and raised slogans in support of their demands. They said that the department has not released the salaries of around 250 casual employees who have been working around the clock to protect the valley’s forests for the past two years.
“Apart from a few who discharge their duties in offices and are close to the officials, no one has been paid salaries,” Feroz Ahamd Wani, president of the Casual Laborers Association, said.
He urged the Government to build an appropriate salary structure for these employees in order to ensure that they receive their salaries on time. “A distinct salary head should be created for these employees so that they do not experience salary disruptions,” he said, adding that despite working and executing their obligations, they are denied pay.
They said that they were forced to hold a protest in Srinagar due to official indifference. “We have been protesting in South Kashmir since last week, but officials are unmoved. Officials have not even communicated with us,” one employee said.