Unpaid dues of retirees

The plight of 600 retired employees of disinvested J&K Cements Limited is a stark reminder of the bureaucratic red tape and indifference that often plague the lives of employees. For over a decade, these former workers have been running from pillar to post, seeking justice and the rightful payment of their retirement dues totalling a staggering Rs 184 crore. This is not just a case of administrative negligence; it is a humanitarian crisis unfolding. The story of these retired employees paints a grim picture of despair and destitution. Denied their rightful retirement benefits since 2006, they have endured years of financial hardship, unable to afford life-saving medicines or basic necessities. Some have tragically passed away without ever receiving what they were owed, leaving their families to bear the burden of economic uncertainty. For those still alive, the struggle continues, with no end in sight. More concerning is the fact that despite repeated appeals and representations to various Government Departments, including the Department of Industries and Commerce and the Finance Department, the retired employees have got nothing but empty promises.
It is unconscionable that these individuals, who dedicated decades of their lives to serving J&K Cements, are now left to suffer in silence. The closure of the company and subsequent disinvestment may have led to the displacement of in-service employees, but it should not have come as an excuse. It is heartening that the Chief Secretary has taken note of the issue and promised to work towards a solution. Concrete action must be taken to expedite the release of the retirees’ dues and alleviate their suffering. In the immediate term, the Government must prioritise the release of at least Rs 25 crore from the disinvestment proceeds, as requested by the retirees’ association. This would provide much-needed relief to those struggling to make ends meet and ensure that they can meet their basic survival expenses. The plight of these retired employees is a wake-up call for the authorities to prioritise the welfare of employees.