‘We demand regularisation, a hike in honorarium’
Baramulla: In what can be seen as the cruelest of paradoxes in the Education department in the state, cooks, sweepers, and other contingent paid workers (CPW’s) take home just Rs 50 to 1,000 in the name of monthly salary.
These employees staged a sit in protest on Monday in Dak bungalow Baramulla to press their demands for eliminating their pay anomaly and regularisation of their services in the department.
Pertinent to mention here that these employees are working as ad-hoc or on need basis yet they constitute a significant work force in the department of education. These are daily-wage employees who do all type of odd work ranging from cleaning lavatories to cooking mid-day meals and making tea for the staff and the guests. They clean the campus of the schools and are responsible for the security of the whole school. Despite the quantum of the labour they put in everyday and the nature of the work they perform, they get the least possible monthly honorarium in the name of salary.
Talking to this reporter Taja Begum, a cook in a government-run school expressed her utmost disappointment with the attitude government is showing towards their just demands.
“I am working in a school for the past five years and cooking midday meals for more than 200 students every day and two time tea for teachers and non-teaching staff, officials and guests throughout the day against only 1000 rupees per month for ten months in a year,” Taja Begum said.
She said that they were required to work from dawn to dusk against nominal salary which is not enough to take care of their responsibilities.
Sabreena, a CPW, told this reporter that despite performing the crucial and maximum hours of work, she gets only Rs 100 a month in the name of salary.
“I have been working for the last 15 years as CPW. I clean the school every day from classroom to bathroom, office to staffroom against just Rs 100 a month,” Sabreena said.
She added that despite the tall claims by the government to regularise their services, nothing concrete happened on ground so far.
Jana Begum (name changed), a widow, has four orphans at home. She shoulders all their responsibilities and resorts to begging after working in a school, as Rs 100 a month is in no way enough to cater to her needs and responsibilities.
She narrated her story with wet eyes to this reporter: “The tall claims of government for regularisation of our services are just hoax and enough to rub salt on our wounds.”
The protesters demanded that their services be regularised on immediate basis so that they do not suffer more and perform their duties well.
Not out of place to mention here that at present in Baramulla district only, there are 1,662 females working in the department as cooks against Rs 1,000 per month and 1165 CPW’s male and female against Rs 50 to 100 a month.
These figures were revealed to this reporter by state president CPW’s and cook forum, Nazir Ahmad Rather. He demanded a hike in the honorarium of CPW’s and cooks and regularisation of their services.