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Sacked BSNL staff gherao boss

Gangtok, Dec. 18: A senior official of BSNL was gheraoed in his chambers this afternoon by sacked casual employees who demanded reinstatement and an explanation for the expulsion.

The protesters shouted slogans in front of the BSNL office at Balwakhani and have said they will start an indefinite hunger strike from tomorrow for the reinstatement.

The gherao of deputy general manager, S.K. Samantha, began around 12.30pm and was withdrawn after three hours.

BSNL had employed 52 casual employees working as technicians and office staff across Sikkim and 21 of them were asked in the middle of November not to come for work any more.

“The authorities didn’t give us any reason for the sudden decision to terminate our jobs. I had been working since 2005 and used to earn Rs 3,000 a month. I was fully committed to my work and never expected such treatment from BSNL. How can I look after my parents now?” asked Pema Lamhu Sherpa, who worked as a store-keeper in the BSNL head office here.

The employees said although they had informed about the matter to the chief general manager of BSNL in Calcutta, no response had come. They said some of the sacked workers had been given jobs after their relatives had died while working for the company.

The workers also said the company had not paid salaries for October and November.

The deputy general manager refused comment. “The general manager is on leave and I am not going to react to any queries from the media,” said Samantha.