Dalma daily wagers set to receive their pending salaries
Daily wagers of Dalma wildlife sanctuary can look forward to finally receiving their pending dues during the New Year.
The state government has released the fund for clearing the dues of the 45 daily wagers (men and women). Dues of the hapless daily wagers were pending for the past nine months.
Dalma range officer (West) Dinesh Chandra confirmed that the fund has arrived and it would take a couple of days for daily wagers to get their dues. The payment would be directly credited to their respective bank accounts.
“It’s a huge relief for the daily wagers who have been patiently waiting for their dues since April. It is good they will finally receive the much-needed money before the Tusu festival on January 14,” Chandra said.
The workers at Dalma are engaged in maintaining accommodations, taking care of two domesticated elephants (as mahauts) and some also works as cooks and trackers (who are recruited to keep a tab on movement of animals across the sprawling 192 sq km sanctuary, 30 km from Jamshedpur). They are paid Rs 311.26 for their labour. The daily wagers work for about 26 days in a month.
The last payment was received was in March this year.
Shrishtidhar Mahto, who heads the Dainik Vetan Mazdoor Sangh and works as a nightwatchman at the sanctuary, said it’s a huge relief for them. “Tusu is our main festival. We were keeping our fingers crossed but it’s good that we would finally receive our dues,” he added.
Some daily wagers had to mortgage their motorcycles to get money. Some had taken money on 10 per cent interest. The Dalma foresters had asked grocers to provide grocery on credit to the daily wagers.
The information kiosk and museum inside the Dalma sanctuary are likely to open for tourists next week, said range officer (West) Dinesh Chandra. “Renovation of the museum is almost complete. Work involving the information center is also nearing completion . They are likely to open next week,” he added.
More elephants have returned to Dalma from their annual migration to the forests of West Midnapore and Bankura in neighboring Bengal. A few jumbos are positioned uphill.