Thursday, Oct 23, 2014

Memorials and parks shut as staff continue with stir

Memorial workers stage a dharna in front of B R Ambedkar Park, in Lucknow Sunday. Pramod Singh Memorial workers stage a dharna in front of B R Ambedkar Park, in Lucknow Sunday. Pramod Singh
Written by Lalmani Verma | Lucknow | Posted: January 13, 2014 4:08 am

With the five memorials and parks in Lucknow — built under the Mayawati regime —locked for the past 10 days after nearly 3,000 class IV employees began their strike demanding redressal of salary-related grievances, the state exchequer has incurred a loss of Rs 2.5 lakh so far.

Nearly 25,000 tickets in total are sold every day at these memorials and parks, which include Bhimrao Ambedkar Samajik Parivartan Sthal (memorial and park), Kanshiram Smarak Sthal, Kanshiram Green Eco Garden and Bauddha Vihar Shanti Upvan.

Secretary of the Lucknow Development Authority (also the general manager of the committee which looks after the memorials), AP Tiwari said, “These employees began staging dharna without prior notice listing their demands of salary benefits at par with the state government employees. Their salaries have been released, but other demands could not be met because they are still on probation.”

The employees sitting on strike have locked the memorial gates and are allowing entry neither to the public nor to the officials. Sources say that district administration is in tizzy as BSP is going to hold a rally in Lucknow on January 15. Entry at Smarak Suraksha Vahini, however, is allowed but only to security personnel.

Tiwari assured that memorials will get opened very soon and also confirmed that the employees will not be paid salary for the days they sit on strike.

The employees, meanwhile, have found support from the BSP. Leader of Opposition in Legislative Council Naseemuddin Siddiqui said, “Their demands are genuine and the state government is doing injustice to them by delaying their payments and making unnecessary cuts in salaries.”

He, however, is against the idea of closing the memorials because “that causes inconvenience to the visitors, loss of revenue and also affects the maintenance of
monuments”.

Leader of Opposition in Legislative Assembly Swami Prasad Maurya has already met the employees at the memorial twice in last week.

Under the banner of ‘Class IV Smarak Karmchari Sangharsh Morcha Union’, the strike called by the employees had immediately led to the state government releasing their salaries. But, the agitation continued with new demands of payments of salaries according to six pay commission’s recommendations put forth.

As part of the protest, employees had held two officers of memorials’ maintenance committee hostage on January 5. LDA Tiwari had said that employees misbehaved with a woman officer as well as foreign tourists. The following day, 13 employees were suspended and attached to Dalit Prerna Sthal in Noida while an inquiry was also
ordered.

There are a total of 5,634 employees in 90 different categories including 3,500 Class IV category staff stationed at the memorials in Lucknow and Noida.

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