MUMBAI: The Opposition took on the Maharashtra government led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde after 17 lakh government employees on Tuesday went on an indefinite strike to press for the restoration of the Old Pension Scheme.
Leader of Opposition Ajit Pawar said that the state government tried to resolve the issue by calling a meeting with the protestors but nothing came of it. “Due to this strike, the emergency services are affected and common people are unnecessarily suffering. The government should be a little proactive and resolve the issue as early as possible,” he said.
Former CM Uddhav Thackeray was more scathing in his remarks. “Why is the state government reluctant to implement the Old Pension Scheme in Maharashtra? Since the ruling party leaders claim they have the support of the Maha Shakti – superpower (top BJP leadership) – what is the problem with implementing the scheme? The Maha Shakti can easily bear its financial burden,” he said. Prakash Ambedkar, leader of Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi, said that the BJP had scrapped the scheme in 2005.
“We had warned the BJP that this issue will arise when govt employees come closer to retirement. Now, employees are on the street to fight for their rights. We are with them. They deserve a decent life after retirement,” he said.
Shinde appeared to be on the defensive in his response to the development. “We have to study all issues that are related to the Old Pension Scheme. We had already constituted a committee to study the issue which will submit a report in the next three months. We are sensitive and positive towards the demands of the govt employees but the financial implications must be taken into account. We are talking to all stakeholders. We have to find a way out through dialogue,” he said. Shinde said people should not suffer due to the strike. He said the protestors should not take the extreme step but should come forward and resolve the issue.
Pensioners under Employees' Pension Scheme 1995 to begin nationwide protest
Fadnavis takes U-turn over OPS, says they are positive about OPS implementation