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Posted at: Oct 7, 2016, 12:32 AM; last updated: Oct 7, 2016, 12:32 AM (IST)

Contractual staff adamant on demands

Take out protest march, burn effigy of state govt over canecharging and use of water cannons against them

Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 6

To protest against canecharging, use of water cannons and tear gas shells against contractual employees yesterday, members of the Punjab Contractual Employees Sangharsh Committee today took out a march starting from the Zila Parishad office and burnt an effigy in front of the District Administrative Complex.

To prevent the protesters from holding the march, the police tried to lock the gate of the Zila Parishad office where they had gathered this afternoon.

However, the protesters crossed the police barricades to go ahead with their plan.

A clash between policemen and protesting contractual employees took place, leaving about a dozen people injured, including policemen and protesters, near Kothe Guruke village.

Yesterday, the police used water cannons, tear gas shells and canecharging against the protesters to disburse them and foil their protest march, but in retaliation, the police faced stone pelting today.

The protesters sat on a road to demand that there should be no interruption in their peaceful march.

The police waited for some time and later allowed the protesters to go ahead on the condition that they would not gherao the house of Cabinet Minister Sikander Singh Maluka.

The injured policemen and protesters were administered first aid at nearby hospitals.

Demanding regularisation, the contractual employees raised anti-government slogans during the march.

Rattanjot Sharma, press secretary of the SSA/RMSA Union said, “Our six members, including three women, were badly injured. Today, the police resorted to brutal action without any reason. The state government is indulging in economic exploitation of contractual employees and those working as part of its outsourcing projects by making them work on meagre salaries.”

“Today again, the police wanted to stop the march. This is a democratic right provided by the Constitution. We escaped the police wrath and burnt the effigy of the government,” he added.

Elaborating on their demands, the protesters said the jobs of daily wagers, contractual employees, anganwari workers, helpers, ASHA workers, mid-day meal workers, computer teachers, SSA/RMSA teachers and non-teaching employees, SSA/RMSA office employees, employees of the Forest Department, MGNREGA Union members, IEV-STR, EGS and AIEE volunteers, education providers and roadways drivers and conductors should be regularised and the vacant posts in government offices be filled immediately to make sure that the excess burden of work on the existing employees is reduced.

They are also demanding clearance of outstanding amounts of their salaries and allowances, revised pay scales, release of instalment of DA from January this year, clearance of inflation allowance dues, implementation of the Minimum Wages Act for ASHA workers, mid-day meal and angawari staff, implementation of the old pension scheme, clearance of outstanding bills, closure of ‘false’ police cases filed against protesters and a check on the alleged police atrocities on them.

Protester Sukhwinder Singh said as per the state government’s policy, the jobs of contractual employees were to be regularised after three years of service, but the government didn’t follow its policy.

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