It was on February 12, 2020 that Altaf Bukhari, Ex Finance Minister J&K PDP-BJP Government issued a statement asking LG G S Murmu to look into the issues pertaining to regularization and release of wages to daily rated workers because their strike had lead to drinking water crisis in most of the areas in Jammu and Srinagar districts adding that despite a policy decision taken and the regularization approved by the previous elected governments, the issue was unnecessarily being lingered on thereby leading to chaotic situation for the people. One would ask Bukhari which government was there from 2105 to 2018?
The then Finance Minister Abdul Rehman Rather had on 29th August 2014 informed the legislature during zero hour in reply to a question by Hakeem Mohammad Yaseen as regards casual labourers /NBW (“need based workers”) working in Public Health Engineering (PHE)/Power Development Department (PDD)/other departments that there was a clear policy on Daily Rated Workers (DRW) for their regularisations after completing seven years of continuous service adding that out of 59,000 DRWs 56,000 have been regularised and remaining 3000 were being regularised but at the same time he also said that there was no policy for Casual Labourers and NBW ( need based workers) of whom the number could be 70,000 and government had asked the field departments to let the Administrative Departments know that who appointed them, what was the source of their wages ?.
What Rather had said in reference to a number as large as 70000 for whom the Government wanted to know from which source they were paid since there was no budgeted allocation for such expenditure should have been seriously investigated ?
It has been on 5th Nov 2020 that some protestors representing as PHE daily wagers employees have been quoted as having said that they will Boycott DDC Elections and that is not a welcome decision in a socialist democratic order.
Anyhow, in Bukhari saying that strike by daily wagers cripples the water supply in cities like Jammu & Srinagar also lies a very serious question and that is, why the staff who has to perform the job on casual basis which job has to be there on regular way for years and continue them for even 10yrs or beyond without filling the posts on regular basis.? This surely raises fingers on the capabilities of those who head the Field departments (CEs) and those head the Administrative Department at the level of government.
Why should the innocent people be kept in allusions and made to suffer with no fault of their performing regular duties but receiving wages much less than other wise due and that too at occasions in deferred manner for months?
Who will do the work in case these casual workers/Daily Wagers who doing the public service job, that existed on ground since even 10 years or more and shall still exist here after, are removed or are not paid by the field engineers from sources not in regular budget? And if then the job vacancies will have to be filled with regular employees then why not to make these employees regular right now? And in case the Administrative Departments have to do regularisation on the basis of the Chief Engineer or a Director taking responsibility of the engagement being genuine then why not cut short the process and make only the Chief Engineer or Director concerned competent for regularisation thereby also relieving the Administrative Secretaries in the secretariate of extra load who are already over occupied with work load where in even the seniority cases of Gazetted Officers are lying unresolved for decades in some cases even after retirement.
LG of UT of J&K needs to take such issues on top priority, rather there is need for even putting in place a dedicated department with, even if possible, delegated special authorities to settle the issues pertaining to Daily Wage Workers in field departments , particularly engineering departments, who are often referred to be on regular type jobs for periods as long as even 10-20 years and if required let it be plainly known to some aspirants if some cannot be considered for their not being in regular government record anywhere.
(Daya Sagar Patron JKSC Sr Journalist / Analyst Jammu & Kashmir Affairs [email protected])