Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jan 11:
Around 300 members of the Odisha Panchayat Karmachari Sangh (OPKS) today gheraoed the residence of Arun Sahu Minister Panchayati Raj & Law here to press on their two-point charter of demands.
Members of the OPKS are demanding regularization of their appointments and hike in salaries. However, they withdrew their demonstration following assurance by the Minister to consider their demands.
“Our meeting with the Panchayati Raj Minister has been successful. He has called for another meeting in two-three days time. He has assured to solve our problems. The Sangh has faith in him. Therefore, the Sangh has suspended its agitation for the present,” said Kaniska Bodhisatva, president OPKS to reporters here.
“I have invited the office bearers of the Sangh for another round of discussions. The meeting will be held in two-three days time. The government is sincerely considering their demands with compassion. Steps will be taken to fulfill their demands within the framework of law,” said Arun Sahu Minister Panchayati Raj and Law.
More than 6,000 peons are working in gram panchayat offices across the state. The Chief Minister had in 2014 announced to pay them a monthly allowance of Rs 1,500. However, they are yet to get it. They have been told by the departmental officers that rules have changed and under the new rules there is no provision to pay them allowance. The OPKS has alleged that they were promised by the government on December 17 last year that the government will take a decision on their demands within 15 days. They alleged that despite lapse of 15 days, the government has taken no decision.
“The Chief Minister had in July, 2014 announced to pay a monthly allowance of Rs 1,500 to peons working 6,204 gram panchayats across the state. Panchayats have received grants in this connection. However, the peons are not getting it. They are being told that the rules have been changed. The new rules do not provide for payment of any allowance to peons. The peons resorted to agitation from December 2 last year and on December 17 a delegation of the Sangh had a meeting with the departmental Minister. The Minister had promised to fulfill their demands within 15 days. But he is yet to fulfill his promise. If he fails to fulfill his promise we intensify our agitation,” said Bodhsatva.