Lucknow: Months after the government led by Yogi Adityanath in Uttar Pradesh quashed the appointment of 1,300 UP Jal Nigam employees who were recruited during the term of the Samajwadi Party government, citing “irregularities” in the process selection, about 5,000 field workers now fear that they, too, may lose their jobs.
These employees, mostly over the age of 50, work as pump operators, hand pump mechanics, assemblers, helpers, chowkidars, drillers, compressor operators and in the technical and non-technical divisions of Jal Nigam’s department, and fear losing their pension. and pre-retirement benefits.
On February 9, during a review meeting with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Uttar Pradesh Director General Jal Nigam, Anil Kumar, these 5,000 field workers were identified as “surplus” and declared ” unnecessary ”in the department. To overcome the financial crisis related to the payment of salaries and pensions, the department had decided that all field workers stationed at Jal Nigam would be housed in the panchayati raj and municipal bodies. An order in this regard was issued by Anil Kumar.
According to Kumar, Jal Nigam is constantly facing a financial crisis that has made it difficult to pay his employees’ salaries and pensions. In such a situation, these “surplus” employees are “transferred” to other departments.
However, five months have passed and these Jal Nigam employees are still awaiting official notification to join the panchayati raj and municipal bodies. They allege the decision to move to other departments just four-five years before their retirement was taken without notice and with the clear intention of “employee harassment.”
“At this point, when all these 5,000 employees are over 50 and have five years left to retire, the government’s decision to declare them unnecessary and move them to the panchayati raj and local authorities is totally inhuman. the intention of the government is to prevent them from obtaining benefits and wages in retirement, ”said Ram Sanehi Yadav, President of Uttar Pradesh Jal Nigam Sansthan Mazdoor Union. NewsClick.
The union opposed the government’s decision, questioning that “when Jal Nigam department is not closed and its traditional model of work – sewerage, pollution of the river, water supply in water and installation of hand pumps – is stopped, how did he claim that some employees are surplus and no longer needed? “
The union said that with this ordinance, Jal Nigam’s future is at stake. They threatened to stop all Jal Nigam’s work soon by starting the “Ghera Daalo-Dera Dalo” movement.
Yadav said that all these “surplus” employees are over 50 and have no idea of their terms of service if they are sent to other departments? Will they get a pension?
“If a department needs additional employees for the job, it can officially request and the department issues guidelines and benefits for those who are displaced, but here nothing has been done and even after the order has been In the past, these employees have not received a salary in the past six months. Those who have retired in the meantime face similar problems. They are awaiting payment of their salary and pension arrears, bonuses and the collection of leave, ”Yadav said.
He said that according to rules and regulations, a few years before an employee retires, his parent department usually calls him and his own department pays the pension contributions. It is to avoid this that the Jal Nigam moved its field workers to the panchayati raj and local authorities.
Commenting on the matter, Pratap Sahni, a retired employee of Jal Nigam, said, “The plan of the Yogi government is to shut down Jal Nigam and hand it over to a private agency.
He said there is no other company in Uttar Pradesh that provides pure drinking water to people other than Jal Nigam.
“The government has decided to transfer more than 5,000 employees from Jal Nigam to other departments, leaving only 2,000 employees, most of whom are clerks and engineers. If you divide those 2,000 employees into 75 districts in the state, how will the government handle the work like overhead tank water filters, sewage treatment, water treatment, pipelines, etc. . The government’s goal is to hand over the water company to private hands, “Sahni said, adding that the main goal of the central government’s push for labor reforms is to make a law so that only capitalists benefit from it.
“There are three big companies in Uttar Pradesh – Jal Nigam, UP Roadways and Forest Corporation – and for the past two decades no recruitment has taken place in all three. Instead, the government is cutting back on employees citing the financial crisis, but the reality is it is preparing to give it to private agencies, ”he added.
In March 2021, the government of Uttar Pradesh fired 1,300 Jal Nigam employees appointed under the previous SP regime, alleging a flawed selection process. All the dismissed employees were appointed by the then minister and now MP Mohd Azam Khan.
An order issued by UP Additional Chief Engineer Jal Nigam, IK Srivastav, had dismissed 122 assistant engineers, 853 junior engineers and 325 clerks from the date of their appointment following an investigation by a special investigation team (SIT) and department.
Meanwhile, DP Mishra, chief spokesperson for Jal Nigam’s employee coordination committee, said it was very unfortunate that when the company faced a “financial crisis,” it handed over 1.50 rupee crore to the Chief Minister’s relief fund, without making employees feel confident. or by giving notice.
“When Jal Nigam is facing a financial crisis and is unable to pay salaries in the past six months, retired employees do not receive pensions and other post-retirement benefits, how can the administration contribute such a huge amount? This amount could have been used for employees, but it doesn’t matter if we die working for the government, ”Mishra told NewsClick.