Thousands of Haryana government employees poured onto the roads on Monday to protest against the pay anomalies. Heavy presence of police and restrictions imposed due to the protest led to chaos and traffic diversions along the route of the march,causing inconvenience to the commuters.
More than 1,000 police personnel drawn from different districts of the state were deployed to avert any untoward incident. The protest was peaceful and the employees were prevented from proceeding towards Chandigarh and were stopped at the Housing Board Chowk.
In the evening,hundreds of employees who had assembled on the call of the Haryana Sarv Karamchari Sangh,a conglomerate of employees,courted arrest after their march to protest outside the Vidhan Sabha was thwarted by the police.
Commissioner (Panchkula-Ambala range) Rajbir Deswal said the police had put in place elaborate security arrangements to ensure an incident-free march. The march was peaceful, he said. Hundreds of employees courted arrest in the evening and were taken into custody.
The protest march began as per schedule from Yaminika Park in Sector 5 where employees from different districts of the state assembled and later proceeded towards the Housing Board Chowk in the afternoon. The protesters included women employees as well.
The employees criticised the government apathy in resolving their grievances and blamed the government for reneging on its promise on payment of wages.
The police had put up barricades at a number of places and resorted to traffic diversions. The police personnel blocked both the roads dividing sectors 7 and 18 as well as the main road dividing sectors 8 and 7 as a precautionary measure. Besides the personnel from all major police stations in the city,the station house officers were also deployed.
One of the striking employees,Ashok Kumar,an assistant lineman,said he got a paltry Rs 7,000 per month as pay from the government and he had not been regularised for the past four years. Despite the fact that I have put in more than four years of service,I have not been regularised, he added.
Madan Lal,the Sirsa unit secretary of Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam Ltd Employees Union,said that the government had failed to implement the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission and had not brought the salaries of the employees on a par with those of the Central government employees. Though the government had promised revision in salaries,it has failed to act on its promise. It is difficult to live on such a meagre amount due to high prices these days, he said.
Ragbir Singh,a primary teacher,said the government had not effected any pay hike of teachers for the last more than two years. The last hike that was given was in 2010. Since then the government has not revised our salaries, he said,adding that the government schools were also facing shortage of infrastructure.
In another agitation,over 500 visually impaired people associated with
the Blind Struggle Association,Haryana,staged a protest at Madhya Marg,Sector 17,in Chandigarh,on Monday,protesting against the lack of facilities in government departments for the visually impaired.