Cuttack, Jan. 22: More than 500 excise officers began an indefinite ceasework today to intensify their protest against alleged anomalies in the pay structure of the sub-inspectors of the state excise department.
Since January 14, the excise officers have been wearing black badges while at work to protest against the anomalies in the salary structure. They have also refrained from carrying out raids or investigations beyond their normal working hours.
“We have been left with no other option but to begin the ceasework as our protest evoked no response from the government,” Odisha Excise Officers’ Association president Basant Kumar Sethy told The Telegraph.
“We will launch a hunger strike and will further intensify the agitation from January 28 if the government continues to remain indifferent to our demands,” Sethy said.
The association is peeved over faulty implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission, which had resulted in the loss of nearly Rs 1,000 in the monthly gross salary of the excise sub-inspectors. While they were receiving a gross salary of Rs 9,923 under the Fifth Pay Commission, their salary allegedly went down to Rs 8,960 after implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission’s recommendations.
“The present scale of pay of the excise sub-inspectors is equivalent to that of police constables and firemen,” said Sethy, alleging gross discrimination in their salaries while comparing to that of the police sub-inspectors.
He said: “Excise sub-inspectors continue to get much lower salary than police sub-inspectors even as the recruitment processes and job responsibilities of both are the same.”
The association had earlier submitted a memorandum to chief minister Naveen Patnaik in this regard. “The chief minister had instructed the finance department to take appropriate action within a month. Yet, nothing has been done so far,” Sethi said, adding that around 280 excise sub-inspectors in the state were affected by the anomalies in their pay structure.