ITANAGAR, Oct 11: Thousands of state government employees openly defied the state government’s warning by participating in the first phase of the pen- and tool-down strike launched by the Confederation of Service Associations of Arunachal Pradesh (CoSAAP) on Thursday, crippling normal office business.
The state government had on Wednesday warned of serious disciplinary action against employees taking part in the strike.
Employees of several major departments abstained from their duties and the state government now finds itself at loggerheads with the CoSAAP.
“I have come to office and will be sitting the whole day here, but I will not be working,” said a junior officer at the civil secretariat.
The agitation has reportedly crippled usual governmental functions as thousands of employees across the state joined the strike.
Employees at the civil secretariat sat around leisurely without working, and many of the office chambers, including the finance department and the budget section, were either deserted or were occupied by agitating employees.
“We are on agitation, so no one is working today,” said an employee who preferred not to be named.
The CoSAAP has been demanding the implementation of the 7th CPC allowances in toto, along with other service benefits for the employees, “on the strength of the provisions contained in the Statehood Act, 1986, and further Adaptation of Laws Orders of 1989.”
When contacted by The Arunachal Times, Home Commissioner Ashish Chandra Verma, who is the chief secretary in-charge, contradicted the media reports, stating that most departments were “functioning normally,” and that there was “minimal effect” (of the strike).
“Some of the employees were reported to be on agitation. The lists of such employees have been obtained, and proceedings to deduct one day salary has been initiated as per the principle of ‘no work, no pay’,” he said.
Later, in a press statement, the CS’ office extended gratitude to “the majority of employees who chose to work in public interest in spite of inducement and threats by certain persons.” It said if any government employee is found to be participating in the agitation on 12 October, “dies non along with ‘break in service’ will be initiated against the participating employee.”
Verma inspected various offices on Thursday, and said mobile teams would be constituted to check the situation in the offices on Friday also.
The CS in-charge also urged the employees to “refrain from any illegal action which may adversely affect public interest.”
The government has already issued an order (No PERS-113/2018/202, dated 10 October) declaring the strike illegal, and warning the striking employees of action in case they resort to pen- or tool-down strike.
CoSAAP claims success
Meanwhile, the CoSAAP issued a press statement saying that the first day of its “non-cooperation democratic movement” passed off successfully.
Claiming “100% support” from the state government employees, the confederation advised the government against being “adamant” in not considering its demands.
Promising to continue its phase-wise strike if its demands are not fulfilled, the CoSAAP said the state government would have to take the responsibility for the inconvenience and deprivation that the people would suffer because of the strike.
It also condemned the government’s order to deduct the salaries of the agitating employees and to invoke the provisions of the CCS Conduct Rule, 1964, and the CCS (CCA) Rules, 1965.
“It is funny that when the government is applying the CCS Rules to punish its employees, it has forgotten that the employees’ demands are covered under the Central Civil (Revised Pay) Rules, 2016, and the provisions contained in every successive CCS (Pay) Rules. There is no logic in invoking certain CCS Rules to punish the employees when they are claiming benefits under the same set of CCS Rules adopted by the same state government to punish its employees in the pretext of financial constraints,” the CoSAAP said.
It suggested that the state government should declare a financial emergency if it is indeed facing financial constraints, “rather than wrongfully curtailing the genuine entitlement of its employees.”
The confederation said the ongoing movement would continue until all its demands are met, and added that in the event that any CoSAAP leaders are arrested, the employees would launch a ‘jail bharo andolan’ throughout the state.
However, the CoSAAP’s strike was a non-starter in Longding and Changlang districts, DIPROs report.
All the offices in Changlang district, including Miao, Jairampur, and Bordumsa, functioned smoothly and saw full attendance, and all the works were done in a routine manner.
The situation was the same in Longding, where the education department in its meeting with the DC finalized its plan for health camps to be organised at Longding and Kanubari.
The progress of activities under BADP, PMAY and CMAGY was reviewed with the BDOs, COs and DPOs, and preparations were made by different departments for the Sarkar Aapke Dwar camp to be held at Longkhaw village on Saturday.
The PHE department carried out its site inspection of the Wakka-Longding water supply project, while the police department conducted a coordination meeting with education department regarding the police cadet scheme.
The election branch also finalized its DEMP, along with its preparations for the visit of the electoral roll observer starting 12 October.