Ex-SRTC employees hit streets over COLA

IQBAL KIRMANI
SRINAGAR: A group of former employees of State Road Transport Corporation (SRTC) Wednesday held a protest here to demand release of their Cost of Living Allowances (COLA).
The ex-SRTC employees who had opted for voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) and ‘golden handshake’ (GHS) gathered under the banner of All J&K Public Sector Undertakings VRS/GHS Employee Association. The protesters said the Cabinet decision No. 103-F, dated 14-04-2013, should be implemented by the government so that the employees are benefitted.
“In light of the decision taken by the Cabinet, the VRS/GHS employees forwarded all the bills to the Finance department in September 2013, but no bill has been cleared till date”, organizer of the protest, Mohammad Ashraf Khanday, told Kashmir Reader.
Raising slogans against what they called callous approach of the Finance department, the protesters demanded that the 126 slab COLA and 1999 COLA arrears be released in their favour without further delay. “The arrears have not been paid to us from past four years, adding to our woes, and as the holy month of Ramadan is nearing government should release the dues in earnest.”
Khanday said they have time and again brought this issue in notice of the many ministers, but to no avail. “We even met Chief Minister Omar Abdullah at his residence in May this year and apprised him about our woes and sufferings who forwarded the case to Finance department. We even met the Minister of Transport Chowdhary Mohammad Ramzan who ordered the concerned department to clear the bills, but till date no money has been released,” Khanday said.
Khanday said that nearly 1500 employees of different departments are suffering due to this delay. “We again appeal Chief Minister Omar Abdullah to look into the matter on humanitarian grounds. As he has accepted the demands of other employees we too are entitled to live a respectable life. He should intervene in this matter and let our families not suffer further,” said Khanday