Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, Feb 19 :
Nearly 1800 jail employees across the state, under the banner of All Odisha Jail Employees Association (AOJEA), have threatened to go on a state-wide agitation from February 22 this month if the state government fails to fulfill their demand for equalisation of grade pay with that of the police personnel before February 21.
They will, however, not boycott work.
The jail employees have been demanding equal pay at par with their counterparts in the State police department, stopping of intentional transfer and deputation and recruitment to vacant warder posts.
Briefing mediapersons about the lackadaisical attitude of the state government, Md. Tameemur Rehman, President of AOJEA on Wednesday said that all jail staff (Warder, Head Warder and Chief Head Warder) will launch an indefinite hunger strike from February 22 across the state.
He said, while the government increased the grade pay of police Constables, Havildar and Havildar Major by Rs 2000, Rs 2400 and Rs 2800 respectively on the basis of RACP Rule-2013, it ignored the jail staff of equivalent ranks like Warder, Head Warder and Chief Head Warder.
“During our eight-day-long hunger strike in December last year Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had assured us that he would take immediate measures for the equalisation of our grade pay with that of the police personnel, but that was all in vain,” alleged Rehman.
“Jail warders and police personnel of the same rank used to draw equal salary. If the salaries of constables have been raised, why should the jail employees be left behind,” asked Rehman, adding, the qualifications for both warders and policemen are the same and both undergo nine months’ training.
“We have decided to stage an indefinite hunger strike and wear black badges as marks of protest in front of the jails from February 22 without affecting our duty till our demands were fulfilled,” he said.