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Strike hits work in 27 districts

Jorhat, March 3: A two-day strike called by the Sodou Asom Zila Prakashan Karmachari Sanstha (All-Assam District Administration Workers’ Association) from today has paralysed work in the 27 districts of Assam.

The association has threatened not to do any extra work related to the Lok Sabha elections if its payscale is not restructured or a special pay given and its other demands fulfilled immediately.

There are nearly 14,000 workers in the district administration offices and amalgamated offices like revenue circles and sub-divisional offices of the 27 districts.

Prasanta Rajkhowa, a member of the central committee, said the government had assured them that the payscale would be restructured or they would be given special pay by February 28. Based on this assurance, the organisation had deferred its strike from February 25-26 to March 3-4.

“However, the government does not seem to be bothered. If this persists we will not work extra time during the elections,” he said.

Rajkhowa said the staff — senior, junior or grade IV employees — had to work extra hours whenever there was any public function or emergency like floods and more than those in the same post in other departments like PWD and irrigation.

“If a VIP or VVIP descends in any district, like the envoys who had recently visited Kaziranga Golf Resort here, then we are called to make all the arrangements and work overtime to ensure that the programme goes off without a hitch right till the end,” he said. Rajkhowa said during elections, they sometimes work till midnight or come as early as 6am and do the job on their holidays if required.

“Earlier, we used to get a special pay of Rs 150, Rs 100 or Rs 75 according to basic pay, but after the 6th Pay Commission scale was implemented, this was discontinued. We have come to know that according to the revision, this has been increased to Rs 300, Rs 200 and Rs 100. The government should either give us this or revise our pay structure,” he added.

Rajkhowa also said those who worked in the secretariat were drawing a different payscale from those in other departments in the capital for this reason. “We are also working under a person of joint secretary rank and therefore demand the same as our duties are also different and more demanding,” he said.

The organisation was also demanding arrears for 36 months and regularisation of all the muster roll workers who had been engaged for years in the same post.

“We have 10 such workers in Jorhat district, a few of them being engaged in the circuit house, all of who are drawing a fixed pay of Rs 6,000, which is insufficient to run a family,” he said.

The organisation was also demanding the release of an honorarium promised for working during the panchayat elections.