Forest Minister C P Yogeshwar on Wednesday assured assistance to contract workers who are staging an indefinite demonstration at Freedom Park seeking regular appointment and additional benefits.
The minister said he would try to accommodate all those workers in the department. “The money, which is promised to be given to these workers, will be processed in a week,” he said.
The minister’s assurance comes in the wake of a report published in Express on Wednesday, which highlighted the plight of the contract workers’ struggle for the last 20 years to get facilities on par with the regular employees and absorb them into service on regular basis.
The contract workers, in various government departments from all over the state, are demanding regularisation of their employment. Some of them, who were employed two decades ago are still drawing a meagre of Rs 170 per day. Most of them are due to retire in the next few months, the demonstrators stated.
The minister, who met the demonstrators was informed about their demands and the sad state of affairs of the 4,600 workers in Forest Department.
He said he would get a details about those matters.
“I will take up the matter with officers and try to accommodate these people in the department as early as possible. The enhanced DA will also be given to the contract workers from the time it was started. This will be processed in a week’s time. We will decide about the appointment of all workers in the Cabinet meeting.”
Anil Kumble, vice-chairman of the State Wildlife Board, who was with the minister, echoed similar views.
“I have deep respect for the workers who safeguard our wildlife and will stand by them in their struggle. I have asked the association members and leaders to prepare a list in a chronological order and send it to me. I will refer it to the government to help them speed up the work,” Kumble said.
President of the Contract Workers’ Association Nagaraj said, “We are sick of protest and agitation. No one came and heard our problems. Even media has kept us at a distance. We still cannot believe what the minister has assured. There is no guarantee about the government unless they really take action. We are keeping our fingers crossed and will wait for ten days as promised by the forest minister to decide on the next course of action.”