Employee Stir Cripples Governance In J&K11 April 2010
The Economic Times
Srinagar: As the strike of over four lakh employees of J&K government enters into second week, the governance has taken a big hit. The confrontation is likely to escalate as the government is desperate to display its authority, but doesn’t have any ready solution of the crisis. “The government had offered them a package but they refused to accept,” a senior officer privy to the development said. “People are suffering and the possibility of government getting tough with the employees cannot be ruled out.” Education ministry has already issued an order that if teachers fail to report to the schools by Monday, they should be dismissed straightaway and the officers at zonal levels should making alternative arrangements. “The schools are operational in Jammu and Ladakh and in parts of Kashmir, civilians have opened state-run schools and started conducting classes,” the officer said. The government had already invoked ESMA but it had no impact at the ground level. Some stirring employees were also arrested. Employees are seeking dues of Rs 4,120 crores on account of arrears of sixth pay commission but the state government says it lacks resources. As per the agreement, the arrears were to be released in five equal installments after the government identified resources. “Last time, they had got a good package. The government suggested ending the disparity in the HRA between employees serving in rural and urban belts and willingness to release Rs 200 crores on account of arrears by making some internal adjustments,” the officer said. “An all-party delegation was supposed to visit the central government and seek some support.” Right now a Cabinet sub-committee is taking care of the crisis and soft options are not on table. An option being considered is that employees will be given an option to serve the government for 30 years. All the employees would reach superannuation on the day of completing 60 years of age or 30 years of continuous service in the government. Under this scheme the government intends to forcibly retire all the employees who have served for 35 years and the list of this lot has already been compiled, a report in a Jammu newspaper suggested. The sub-committee is also getting feedback of a split within the employees’ ranks and that is expected to help ease the situation this week. The confrontation, however, is costing J&K a lot. Secretariat in Jammu is locked. Srinagar is stinking as garbage collection has stopped. Hospitals are not functioning properly. Markets and transporters have to bear losses as few people are seen on roads.