VIJAYAWADA: After temple Nayee Brahmins (barbers working in temples) observed strike twice in the month of June - one for demanding basic monthly pay of `15,000 and the other opposing rude behaviour of Temple Trust Board member I Penchalaih who attacked a barber in the Kesa Khandanasala (tonsuring hall) - the State government issued an order on Wednesday prohibiting all forms of protests or strikes in the essential services departments of Sri Durga Malleswara Swamyvarla Devasthnams (SDMSD) for a period of six months.
The authorities of Durga Temple took the issue of barbers calling an indefinite strike without intimation seriously as the strike forced devotees to face severe inconvenience. In the interest of devotees, the officials wrote a letter to the higher-ups, requesting them to bring in an ordinance prohibiting employees from staging strikes and protests.
After considering the request, the government issued an order prohibiting strikes under the provisions of the Andhra Pradesh Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA), 1971, for a period of six months with immediate effect.
According to the order, services in the Kesa Khandanasala, water works, electricity, sanitation, medical, transport, Anna Prasadam department, security and temple administration departments will be treated as ‘essential services’. Any any disturbance in these services will lead to inconvenience, the order says.
“In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-clause (vi) of clause (a) of sub-section (1) of Section 2 of the Andhra Pradesh Essential Services Maintenance Act, 1971 (Act No.20 of 1971), the government hereby declares that administrative services are ‘essential services’ and it is necessary and expedient to prohibit strikes for a period of six months with immediate effect,” the Government Order stated.
Temple officials clarified that the order was issued in the interest of devotees visiting temple from various places. “Strikes and protests will dent temple’s image if any inconvenience created during their visit. Also, with the Dasara festival fast approaching, it would help us focus on the arrangements. Hence, the decision,” temple’s spokesperson said.