Skipping work on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s birthday on September 17 has proved costly for about 40 employees of Chandigarh Municipal Corporation. Although it was a Sunday, “Sewa Diwas (Day of Service)” had to be observed on the PM’s birthday, and all offices remained open from 10 am to noon as the staff had to take part in cleanliness activities.
Forty employees of the Municipal Corporation from various departments did not turn up for the event. Additional Commissioner of Chandigarh MC, Uma Shankar Gupta, has served them showcause notices. Gupta told The Indian Express, “The employees have been asked to provide an explanation. If the reply is not found satisfactory, one day’s salary would be deducted.”
On September 17, MC Commissioner Baldeo Purushartha and other senior officers had taken part in cleaning toilets, wash basins, windowpanes of their office building as part of “shramdaan” (voluntary work). After the event, Purushartha had instructed the MC’s Establishment branch to prepare a list of employees who were absent and take action.
Harjinder Singh, vice-president of the Indian National Trade Union Congress, Chandigarh, said, “The BJP government shouldn’t force its decisions on people. This is something which should be voluntary. Issuing a showcause notice to employees because they couldn’t turn up at PM’s birthday event is not fair.”
Mayor Asha Jaswal said the entire country was observing PM’s birthday as Sewa Divas and the government employees were meant to clean up their offices. “…when a cleanliness campaign is going on across the nation and everybody is there for two hours, they should have at least intimated the reason for not coming.”
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