Agitating groups see a chance in political crisis

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Old 18-Oct-2010
Agitating groups see a chance in political crisis

Chandigarh October 18:

Political crisis in the state has come as a golden opportunity for various sections of employees and agitating groups to push for meeting of their demands.

Many factions of elementary teachers, veterinary doctors etc, who were leading a peaceful agitation, have taken this “panic of sorts” in the ruling SAD as an opportunity to push for their cases with the government that has indicated its going into a “please-all” mode.

The first to get aggressive among them is the Punjab State Veterinary Officers Association and rural veterinary officers working on contract under the zila parishad. This group has announced that it will hold a state-level dharna and a protest march in the Chief Minister’s home district, Muktsar, on October 18. They are demanding grant of the NPA and regularisation of RVOs.

Five employees’ federations in the state also met Deputy M Sukhbir Singh Badal in his office on Saturday and extended full support to his government, but at the same time reminded him that the government was yet to implement the accord reached with the employees. The meeting at this juncture that reassures the government of their support was obviously not without pressure to meet their demands.

The ministerial staff of the state government has one on a pen- down strike on more than one occasion in the past few days to get the government to accept their demands that include the implementation of the Fifth Pay Commission report. Besides other things, they are demanding promotions for their carders and have threatened to intensify their agitation if immediate heed is not paid to their demands.

Several other groups like elementary teachers, doctors employed by the zila parishads have been demanding that they be regularised as employees of the Punjab Government. These elementary teachers have faced batons and water cannons in the past, but now they have announced that they will adopt a more aggressive stance if the government does not pay heed to them.

Similarly, employees of the state Education Department have also threatened to launch an agitation if their notified pay scales are not implemented. Anganwari workers, nurses employed with the government and employees of the erstwhile Punjab State Electricity Board are all demanding immediate implementation of the Fifth Pay Commission recommendations along with other demands.

Over the past few days, the PSEB Engineers’ Association has also upped its ante against the government. On October 13, the association in an appeal to the Chief Minister has asked for the scrapping of an MOU with the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and allow the execution of the 2,640 MW Gidderbaha Thermal Project by the state’s own engineers.

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