Chhattisgarh: Thousands of Contract Workers to Take out Rath Yatra Across State for Regularisation
New Delhi: Amid the election season in Chhattisgarh, the ruling Congress and Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel are facing a new challenge. Contractual employees across the state have united to protest against the government.
On May 15, a 'Contract Regularisation Rath Yatra' is being organised under the leadership of the Chhattisgarh All Department Contract Employees Federation, which will pass through all 33 districts. In this, all the contract workers of the district will participate after taking one day’s leave.
The yatra will continue till June 21. If the government does not accept the demands of the contract workers by then, it will likely face a bigger movement, the federation warned.
As per the federation, the last district of this yatra will be Raipur, where a huge demonstration is planned.
The contract workers are demanding that the government fulfil its promise of regularisation, made in the supplementary budget presented in the Monsoon session.
The state president of All Departmental Contract Employees Federation, Kaushalesh Tiwari, told NewsClick that at present, there are about 45,000 contract workers deployed in 54 government departments.
"Those who have been engaged for years demand regularisation. In such a situation, if no announcement is made soon, all these employees will be forced to go on indefinite agitation, which may lead to a lockout in all departments," he said.
According to Tiwari, over four years have passed since the Bhupesh Baghel government came to power, but the promises made to the employees have yet to be fulfilled.
"When he was in the Opposition, he used to come to the protests of contract workers. Even in his manifesto, he had promised to regularise all contract workers. But now, even in his last budget, he has not taken any cognisance of this matter. Regarding this, there is resentment among the contractual employees working in all state departments," said Tiwari.
Many Question Government's Intention
The federation's state secretary Shrikant Laskar said contract workers of all departments, including agriculture, health, labour and panchayat rural development, would participate in this yatra.
"Everyone's patience is over, as even after waiting for almost four and a half years, not including their demands in the budget raises many questions on the government's intention," he said.
He added that in 2018, Congress promised that contractual employees would be regularised.
"After this, protests were held several times but the government did nothing about it. Then in 2019, it formed a committee on regularisation. Since then, only a committee has been formed that meets annually, but there’s no outcome. Neither the committee’s report has been made public, nor has any employee been regularised," Laskar said.
In November 2022, too, contract employees had taken out a manokamna padayatra, leading to a big agitation for several days. The government had then assured the workers that the demands would be included in the budget.
Notably, an indefinite strike of panchayat secretaries was recently held in Chhattisgarh. They are also agitating for their demands and are accusing the government of reneging on its promises.
At the same time, before the budget, health workers of the state and employees of other departments also staged sit-ins and strikes for their demands.
In such a situation, the Congress government of the state is repeatedly getting entangled in the web of promises made in its manifesto, which can prove to be a big issue for the Opposition in the upcoming Assembly elections.
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