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Contract workers attack job applicants

Four contractual health department technicians were arrested on Monday for allegedly beating up candidates who were to appear for an interview at NRS hospital to select medical technologists for state-run healthcare facilities.

A 50-strong police contingent had to baton charge the 250-odd contractual workers who attacked the interviewees. The contractual workers were under the banner of the West Bengal Technologist Employees’ Association, a wing of the Trinamul Congress. They denied the charge.

The police said they had used force to stop candidates who had assembled from entering the NRS auditorium where the interviews were being conducted to recruit 200 lab, ECG and X-ray technicians.

Ram Keshab Banerjee, 37, Rahul Adhikary, 29, Bidyut Kumar Dalui, 29, and Kallol Ghosh, 38, who cops said lead the attack, were arrested under sections 143 (unlawful assembly), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 341 (wrongful restraint) of the Indian Penal Code. They were released on bail.

“We have been working as technicians for many years. The government never met our demand of being made permanent employees. But today interviews were being conducted to recruit technicians whose salaries would be more than ours,” said a leader of the association.

He and his colleagues demonstrated to press for permanent employment and a pay hike. According to them, while they earn a monthly salary between Rs 8,000 and Rs 9,000, the new recruits would get Rs 18,000.

“We were protesting peacefully but the police attacked us. Seven-eight of us were injured,” he claimed.

A senior officer at Lalbazar said: “Our personnel ensured that the trouble-makers could not come anywhere near the interview venue after being driven out. The interviews were conducted peacefully.”

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