UP: Over 20,000 Jal Nigam Employees, Pensioners Not Paid Salary for 4 Months
Lucknow: Thousands of Uttar Pradesh Jal Nigam (water corporation) employees and pensioners have threatened to launch an indefinite agitation against non-payment of salaries and pension for the last four months, the Jal Nigam Employees Coordination Committee has said.
While many said that they were not being able to repay loans and school fees of their children, some are struggling to even provide basic necessities to their dependants.
Sanjeev Pandey, a class IV employee at Jal Nigam in Banda district, while speaking with NewsClick over phone, said that he had two loans to repay and five dependants to look after in the family. “After continuous agitation in the past, it was agreed to pay the salary on time. At that time, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath himself had issued instructions to pay the salary. But I am not being paid (salary) for the four months. It’s become so difficult to survive now. I had to pay instalments of Rs 20,000 per month to the bank (for loan). For the last four months I have been borrowing money from friends’ and relatives to repay the loan,” he said.
D.P. Mishra, chief spokesperson of the Jal Nigam Employees Coordination Committee, told NewsClick that Uttar Pradesh Jal Nigam was divided into two parts --- Uttar Pradesh Jal Nigam (Urban) and Uttar Pradesh Jal Nigam (Rural). He said over 4,300 employees associated with UPJLN (urban) have not been paid salaries for the past four months (May, June, July, August). While 6,800 retired employees have not received their pension since May due to lack of "funds" in the department.
Mishra further said that Jal Nigam employees in (rural) areas, however, had received their salary for May but had also been waiting for their salary for the past three months (June, July, August).
"The condition of over 1,238 field staff, who have recently shifted to municipal corporations, is more vulnerable. They have not received their salary since February despite working tirelessly for the department," said Mishra.
Nearly 20,000 employees and pensioners have been getting delayed dues for over three-four years. The employees claimed that they have received assurances but the delays have become a permanent fixture.
Explaining the plight of Jal Nigam and delayed salary and pension every year, Ram Sanehi Yadav, president of Jal Nigam Jal Sansthan Mazdoor Union, told NewsClick: "Our department works on centage (a commission) model. Suppose if we do work worth Rs 100, 12.5% would be the centage. The situation started deteriorating after the state government took work from us and didn't pay us our centage. During floods, drought and new schemes, we are asked to work quickly but not paid our centage. Similarly, the government has reduced our centage from 12.5% to 5%. This is the reason Jal Nigam is in this condition but the government hardly thinks about its employees," he said.
Yadav said the delay of at least a fortnight has become a regular occurrence for the past few years and the government needs to find a permanent solution.
Read Also: UP Jal Nigam Staff in Dire Financial Straits
According to the Water Supply and Sewerage, 1975, the UPJN was constituted as a corporation. Before 1975, it was known as a local self-government engineering department that used to look after the water supply and sewage in both rural and urban areas apart from the cantonment. As per the Act, the employees are supposed to get 12.5% centage for their work but the state government has reduced it to 5%.
In March, Jal Nigam employees staged a sit-in protest over non-payment of salary and pension, after which Chief Minister Adityanath had instructed officials that they be paid three months' salary before Holi. But, despite his assurance, payment of salaries and pension of February, March, April and May are still pending.
On September 9, it will be one year since the division of the Jal Nigam. The UP Jal Nigam employees across the state will observe 'Black Day' by wearing black ribbons to reiterate their unmet demands.
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