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Warders demand pay hike

Bhubaneswar, Nov. 29: Warders of jails across Odisha today sported black badges in support of their demand for pay parity with their counterparts in the police department.

Around 1,400 employees, under the banner of All-Odisha Jail Employees’ Association (AOJEA), threatened to go on a hunger strike from December 3 if the government did not meet their demand.

The agitating employees said the warders, who perform jobs in the jail, should be treated in the same way as police constables. But their salaries are different. They said that for the past 29 years, the government had been giving them false assurances. Last year, they had called off their agitation after the authorities assured them that their demands would be considered.

“We want the government either to give us equal status with police constables or declare us as class IV employees and provide us with facilities accordingly. Every time we have been raising this issue, the authorities have been fooling us with false claims,” said president of AOJEA Tameemur Reheman.

Reheman said prior to 1974, warders and constables drew equal salary. Later, the salaries of constables were increased, but the jail employees’ were not. At present, a warder draw Rs 4,440 and Rs 1,650 as grade pay per month while a constables gets a salary of Rs 5,200 plus a grade pay of Rs 2,000. The qualifications for both warders and policemen are same and both undergo training.

Vice-president of the association Asit Kumar Dwibedi said that in 18 states, constables and warders got equal salaries and other benefits.