Chhattisgarh: 15 days of 'Contract Regularisation Rath Yatra' Completed, Government Accused of Making New Recruitments by Breaking Promises!
Thousands of contract workers are on the streets in Chhattisgarh demanding their regularisation. The 'Contract Regularisation Rath Yatra' is going on in the state from May 16, passing through all 33 districts. Presently this Rath Yatra has been completed in Surguja and Bilaspur districts, under which about 14 districts have been covered. Now further, this yatra will start for Durg and Raipur districts. During this Rath Yatra, all the contract workers of the district are protesting by taking one day's leave and handing over the memorandum to the collector.
Let us inform you that this Rath Yatra, organised under the leadership of the Chhattisgarh All Departmental Contract Employees Union, will continue till June 21, and it will conclude in the capital Raipur. Even after this, if the government does not accept the demands of these contract workers, then they are ready for a more significant movement by a further lockout. According to the federation, a massive demonstration is also planned in Raipur, and further, this protest will be an indefinite movement.
The government should fulfil the promise because 'if not now, then when'?
Federation's state secretary Shrikant Laskar told NewsClick that the rath yatra includes all contractual workers from all departments, including agriculture, health, labour and panchayat rural development, whom the government had promised to regularise. Since everyone's patience has run out, they demand that the government fulfil its promise of regularisation compulsorily in the supplementary budget presented in the coming monsoon session because 'if not now, then when'?
According to Shrikant Laskar, this rath yatra of contract workers was to start on May 15, but due to non-approval of the administration, it started on May 16 and has continued since then. But in the last 15 days, neither has he received any assurance from the government nor met any leader or minister. On the contrary, the government, going against its promise, has started the process for direct recruitment in some departments, due to which the jobs of contract workers are at risk in the coming times.
The job of old contract workers in danger due to new recruitment
Many employees involved in the yatra told NewsClick that they have been working in their departments for a long time, and now their age is also high, due to which they have already been out of the direct recruitment age qualification of the government. In such a situation, a new employment crisis has arisen in front of them. Because as soon as the direct recruitment process is completed, they will be fired from the jobs. At the same time, the present Congress government of the state, in its manifesto, had promised to regularise the employees. After this, on February 14, 2019, also, the Chief Minister came on the platform of these employees and announced that this year belongs to the farmers, and the following year will belong to the employees.
Some employees warned the government that now Chief Minister Baghel does not have much time, so if he does not take any steps towards regularisation soon, then his government is sure to fall. At present, about 45,000 contract workers are deployed in 54 government departments in the state, which can be a big vote bank for the government. All these employees are now not ready to return home, even based on assurance. They clearly say that the government should take some concrete steps; otherwise, soon, all the employees will be forced to go on indefinite agitation, which may lead to a lockout in all the departments.
Significantly, the Chhattisgarh assembly elections are to be held later this year. In such a situation, the ruling Congress and Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel are facing a new challenge from the contractual employees. Earlier, the state had witnessed an indefinite strike by panchayat secretaries, who accused the government of reneging on its promises. At the same time, before the budget, health workers and employees of other departments have also staged sit-ins and strikes for their demands. In such a situation, the path to power for Congress in the coming elections seems entangling in its promises and intentions.
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