Hike in retirement age: JCC says ‘we deserved it, govt did not give any charity’

SRINAGAR: A day after the government enhanced retirement age of employees from 58 to 60 years, the employees’ leadership on Wednesday urged all pro-India parties not to make an issue out of the announcement, saying it would be a “shameful act if they intervene in administrative and departmental matters.”
“The enhancement of the retirement age was our genuine right and we deserve it. Government has not given us any charity. We appeal and request all the political parties not make any issue out of it. And if they intervene in the administrative matters then it would be shameful act,” Abdul Qayoom Wani, a senior leader of the Joint Consultative Committee, an amalgam of many employees unions, told reporters at a news conference here.
Wani also dispelled speculations of supporting ruling National Conference in the upcoming Assembly elections after their main demands were fulfilled by the government, saying “what could be the compulsions of the coalition, the employees have nothing to do with it.”
“We have always maintained that employees are non-political and we don’t support any party or idea. But we can’t ignore the credit our worthy Chief Minister and his Cabinet colleagues deserve for acceding to our demands,” Wani said.
“What compulsions the coalition could have, we have nothing to do with it. We thank the coalition government for this historic announcement,” he said.
On Tuesday, the government announced the enhancement in retirement age after the Cabinet acceded to the employees’ demand at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.
The employees’ unions had taken to streets a number of times over the past eight years, demanding enhancement of the retirement age, and a delegation also met the Chief Minister earlier Tuesday.
“JCC leaders put the charter of demands containing 27 different demands before the CM who assured that all the demands will be solved within a month,” Wani said.
He said Omar has also promised that the issues of casual workers will be addressed within a month.
Speaking on the occasion JCC Convener and president Civil Secretariat Non-Gazetted Employees Union (CSNGEU), Rauf Ahmad Bhat urged the government to come up with an employment package for six lakh unemployed youth of the state.
“There are vested interests who would try to create wedge between the youth of the state and the employees. JCC urges the state government to come up with an employment package for these youths,” Bhat said.
Bhat said every year around 8000 employees retire from their services while very few are being appointed to fill the vacancies.
JCC also thanked pro-freedom leaders including both the heads of Hurriyat factions, Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik, Hurriyat Conference JK leaders Shabir Ahmad Shah and Nayeem Khan “for their moral support in our struggle.”
“I also thank all (pro-freedom) leaders and other political associations cutting across religious and ideological lines that extended their support during our struggle and raised their voices against the atrocities committed on us by the government in the past,” Wani said.