The Telegraph
Friday , July 4 , 2014

Welfare panel staff face bleak future

- Appeal to make jobs permanent

Jorhat, July 3: Three hundred-odd employees of the development authorities of the state stare at a bleak future with coffers running dry.

Revenue of the development authorities in different districts has dwindled as all the urban area work is being given to the municipal boards after the government made an amendment in the urban development departments in 2012.

The All Assam Development Authority Employees’ Joint Council has threatened to launch an agitation if the jobs of its members were not made permanent by the government as the revenue now garnered from the rural development work is a pittance and does not pay for their remuneration.

Ranjit Sharma, vice-president, central committee, All Assam Development Authority Employees’ Joint Council and an employee of Dibrugarh development authority, said earlier he was drawing Rs 40,000 or more but now it had decreased to such an amount that he did not know whether he would be able to educate his children properly.

“Time and again we have drawn the government’s attention to our plight through memorandums and other means but all our petitions have fallen on deaf ears. I am to retire in another year’s time and at this age I cannot think of a job change,” Sharma said.

Hridayananda Saikia, general secretary of the organisation and an employee of Jorhat development authority, said of the 25 such existing development authorities in the state, employees of 14 of them did not get their remuneration from the state government. Instead, they received it from the revenue garnered from work pertaining grant of construction permission and providing land transfer no objection certificates.

The functions of the rest of the development authorities are run by staff of the town and country planning department. “Earlier, these kind of activities mostly took place in urban areas and we used to get a good amount of revenue. Now, such work is undertaken only in rural areas from where we get hardly any money to pay out our remuneration,” Saikia said.

The chairman of each development authority gets an honorarium and is empowered to recruit others under him.

The government had created 24 development authorities under the Town and Country Planning Act.

Saikia said today because of lack of revenue in a few development authorities like Dergaon and Silchar, the employees were either not getting any remuneration or were being given a certain amount. “A junior engineer in one place was now getting Rs 3,000,” he said.

In January, the council submitted a memorandum to the then DoNER minister Paban Singh Ghatowar in which it stated that as 75 per cent of its revenue was now lost and that this was causing serious threat in providing the monthly salary of its members.

“The memorandum further alleged that because of acute financial hardship, a few employees could not take proper medical treatment and in the meantime an employee each of Tezpur, Sivasagar and Dibrugarh development authorities have died because of financial reasons.

The council said if anything untoward happens because of such hardships, the government would then be blamed for dilly-dallying in absorbing the 341 employees in regular jobs.

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