SRINAGAR: Demanding regularization of their services in Rural Development Department (RDD), the members of All Jammu and Kashmir MGNREGA Employees Association staged a protest against government on Saturday.
The protesting employees first assembled inside Pratap Park here and accused government of failing to frame a job policy for them. The protest saw the participation of MGNREGA employees from Gram Rozgar Sahik, technical assistants, progamme officers, district coordinators, and management system information operators from various districts of the valley.
“We are not in a condition to educate our children neither in government or private schools, and we even cannot meet the requirements at our homes,” An employee leader said addressing the protestors. “It’s our right to demand the regularization of our services because we are highly qualified and well educated people.”
State Coordinator of the association, Aijaz Ahmad Khan, told Kashmir Reader that government appointed MGNREGA employees from 2009 to 2013 on contractual basis, where the ratio was set 1:5 at halka level, by district level selection committee. “It has been almost nine years but government has not formed any job policy and we believe our future is not secure,” Khan said.
He also accused government of deceiving them by not fulfilling the promises made in April this year.
The employees had gone on a hunger strike in April and later called it off on an assurance from the government.
“We called-off our 10-day hunger strike after RDD Minister, Divisional Commissioner and our director assured that our demands will be met but we did not see any development in it and we are forced to believe that they are playing with our sentiments” he said.
Sheikh Basharat, another protesting employee said in the last nine years their salary has seen a hike of mere Rs 1000.
“In a recent assembly session government said one lakh contractual and ad-hoc employees will be regularized so we question them whether we are in those one lakh employees. We also request them to adjust us in newly created 177 Community Development (CD) blocks as VLW as the posts are vacant,” Basharat said.
The employees threatened that if their demand was not met within a week they would go for an indefinite strike.
“If our regularization is not met before August 10 then there would be indefinite strike and for any consequences government shall be responsible,” Jan Muhammad, president of the association was quoted in a press statement.