Riyaz Ul Khaliq
J&K Minister for Finance, Labour, Employment and Culture, economist Dr Haseeb A Drabu Wednesday said the issue of contractual, ad-hoc, daily wager employees shall be addressed in one and a half year. He said that the state has over 64000 such employees.
Addressing National Youth Corps (NYC) contractual employees, who are on hunger strike for last nine days in Pratap Park in Lal Chowk, Dr Drabu said, “your issue is genuine, justified but I have to address these like cases of 64000 youth.”
The NYC contractual employees are demanding regularization of their services. Engaged in 2010 amid popular uprising, the NYC employees were engaged in different departments in J&K government against a salary of Rs 2500 per month.
Speaking on the occasion, the NYC employees said that they were misguided by their respective departments. “As per guidelines, we are supposed to make people aware about various schemes but we were made to work like regular employees; from generator operator to Peon of a Section Officer, we did everything,” the agitating NYC employees told Dr Drabu on the occasion.
Earlier in the day, NYC employees registered their protest outside the residence of Chief Minister at Gupkar.
The agitating NYC employees asked Dr Drabu to implement the NC-Congress government cabinet order to which Dr Drabu said, “last cabinet (NC-Congress government) have made fools of you by issuing such an order.”
“NYC volunteers are appointed concurrence to approval of Finance and Planning Ministries,” Dr Drabu read the cabinet order and said, “what does this order mean when both of the ministers are sitting in the same cabinet which issues the order? They should have approved or disapproved of the order there only.”
Dr Drabu further said that the last dispensation had ruined the system. “Let me be frank, I didn’t do any injustice to you, it was the last dispensation but now I am responsible for you; I have a responsibility of 64000 families.”
Dr Drabu rued the “unofficial” system of work without pay. “Many applicants come to me and ask for recruitment saying they will work without money which is worst case scenario.”
“I don’t talk about it now, but our predecessors have ruined our youth; I can’t see your situation like this,” he told the NYC agitating employees who are being administered glucose and other liquids. “We can’t see our enemies in this condition, how can I see future of my nation in such a terribly bad condition.” He added that he would have visited the NYC agitating employees on the first day of their strike but he was in New Delhi.
Dr Drabu while recalling his meetings with NYC representatives said that he had asked for at least five to seven months to resolve their issues. “Yes, I had told you to wait up to August but I had said that your issues will be solved with the announcement of an economic package which is yet to come.”
Dr Drabu announced on the occasion that issues pertaining to temporary employment will be solved in at least 18 months from now. “The system has been ruined; give me some time to put a just system in place and you will see the perceptible change,” he said adding, “the work without pay is the worst case scenario in the universe; we need to change such thinking. Everybody should be paid for what he/she does.”
Dr Drabu asserted, “I am not working only on your case but I have a responsibility of 64000 families,” he told the NYC employees. “When I decide anything, it will be equitable and just for all.”
He said that the last dispensation had delayed the salaries of employees for more than three years. “I had a liability of Rs 9500 Crore but we are working on the issue,” he said.
Dr Drabu told the agitating NYC employees that Union government had ordered new recruitment of NYC which he has stopped. “I have asked people in New Delhi to transfer the money scheduled for new recruits to accounts already created; my government will give same amount which will be used for your salaries,” he told the NYC employees.
When NYC agitating employees asked about the economic package by union government to state of J&K, Dr Drabu revealed, “it is coming in five to seven days.”