Why are substantive vacancies to stay for years manned by Casual/DRWs even in UT of J&K?

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  • Why no Politician pursues such issues that promptly like the way they ‘trumpet’ when out of power?
  • Why not authorise the ‘major’ HODs to initiate and order appointments for non-Gazetted vacancies?

J&K electric employees on 1st March 2020 held a protest in Jammu reiterating their demands for regularisation of all left-out daily-wagers even under SRO 381 (Subordinate service recruitment rules). Jal Shakti Deptt’s daily wage employees (some reports said 300) came in a protest rally on this 4th October in Bhaderwah under the banner of PHE Employees United Front unit Bhaderwah where they were on strike for last 10 days due to which local water supply had been affected in some areas. And the water supply in Jammu City too was badly affected for a number days in September 2020 due to strike of daily wage employees of Jal Shakti ( PHE) Department. To be brief electric power maintenance jobs and public water supply get badly disrupted even in the cities like Jammu and Srinagar in case the Daily Wage workers / Casual employees go on strike. And the position has been more like that atleast for last more than two decades. Five questions could be asked (1). Are there no regular employees in the departments for doing the work that has to stay on like any other work on which people are working in regular grades ? (2) In case there are also regular grade employees then why when daily wage employees go on strike the services are badly interrupted ? (3) Are most of the jobs that are of regular nature filled by only daily wagers ? (4) At a many times it is told that pumping machinery at tube well sites / isolated small lift stations in rural and urban area sites ( not always large water supply schemes like Sitli/ Dhounthali / Company Bagh ) could not be started due to daily wage employee on strike or even supply could not be regulated/volves could not opened , does that mean that high value public assets/ machinery is kept insecure by department with no responsible government employee holding charge of that? (5) Is it not the responsibility of the concerned Head of the Division/ Concerned Chief Engineer to draw out the requirement of minimum staff for the scheme installed / give sanctions for that to the lower officers / obtain sanctions for that from the Administrative Department in Secretariat?
Similarly as regards power distribution infrastructure of the Power Development Department where ever poles and lines are laid and distribution system is commissioned the staff for pole / line duty has to become a regular feature.
So often cases of accidents are reported involving the staff/ worker working for handling the fixtures/ lines in the distribution / supply line system where the staff involved may not be a regular government employee.
Here the question is how could a worker be deployed on job involving risk without cover and that too in a government department ?It was on 13July 2015 that one Sham Lal, who claimed to be some time back a daily / casual wage worker engaged by PDD department, while talking to media had said that 15 years ago he had I suffered an electric shock, while performing duty at Chack Hasla station near Bishnah and all those years he had been struggling for compensation but PDD J&K had not cared. Sham Lal’s case may not be an isolated case of victim of electric shock while discharging duty as a casual worker in JK PDD and some may be still in waiting for formal compensation / regularization of services. It has been five years after that on 13 July 2020 that Apni Party too had felt the need for making a statement that The Government should give compensation to the workers who have got electrocuted in electrical accidents.
It was on 29th August 2014 that G M Saroori even alleged on the floor of Legislative Assembly that daily wagers in PHE engaged for providing water to people in far flung and remote areas were being paid only twice in a year-Eid or Deepawali- festivals, that needed high level enquiry but no one cared . On 13th Nov 2018 police had to scuttle an attempt to Gherao the Jammu and Kashmir Civil Secretariat by a few hundred Public Health Engineering (PHE) Department daily wage workers, whose demands also included release of pending wages and regularisation of their services. Even Altaf Bukhari Ex Minister PDP and now President J&K Apni Party on 12 Feb 2020 said in a statement that he had learnt that some of agitating PHE workers were waiting for their pending wages for the last four years and called upon the government to must understand the difficulties faced by this important section of our society who have no money to pay fee for their school going children or manage their day-to-day family affairs.
But why no government that comes to power addresses their issues that promptly like the way they ‘trumpet’ at occasions when out of power , is the question that should be asked from the leaders of the ‘day’ even by media men before reporting their statements. The status and protests are still living in 2021 they lived in 2018 , why can anyone reply ?
(Daya Sagar Sr Journalist / Analyst Jammu & Kashmir Affairs [email protected])