Srinagar: Hundreds of Casual Labours working in the Roads and Buildings department Monday held massive protest demonstration here and locked the office of Chief Engineer PWD (R&B) Kashmir here in Rajbagh demanding immediate release of their long pending wages.
The protest was organised under the banner of Jammu and Kashmir Roads & Buildings Casual Labours Union in which hundreds of casual labourers, including females from the all the twenty eight division offices of R&B participated.
The protesters had pasted the posters on the main door of the department and were holding placards demanding justice and release of their wages. “We are demanding the release of our salaries which are pending from many years. We had already prepared the list and submitted the requisition of rupees five crore ninety six lakhs to the Secretariat but nothing happened,” said Sajad Ahmad Zargar, president R&B Casual Labourers Union.
“This time also they are saying that they have sent an allotment of nine crore, but we know that is a joke because on every Eid they promise us and give high hopes but after the Eid they forget everything,” Zargar said.
According to the protesters, they come to the head office on every Eid to press for the demand of releasing their wages and demand their rights but every time they had to leave with empty hands.
“We have met the Private Secretary of CE R&B and he assured us that our wages would be released by Eid but all in vain. Whenever we go to the higher ups they say we will release your salary but they do nothing,” said Abdul Hamid Khan, Vice-president of the Union. “We do all types of work, we work as watchmen, operators to making bailey bridges and macadamising roads and when we ask for our wages they say they are falling short of funds”.
The Union has requested Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and Chief Engineer Nisar Ahmad Bhat to pay heed to their requests and do justice with them and their families so that they too can celebrate Eid with their families.
“They should open their eyes and look at our sufferings. We are working here since last 15 to 20 years and they have neglected us. Our kids are sleeping empty stomach,” Khan said. “Today we have locked the department until the chief engineer comes and fulfils our demands otherwise we will turn this protest into indefinite strike”.