NNP (PT) contingency workers demand pending wages, threaten stir

[ Pisi Zauing ]
MIAO, Jun 5: Altogether 106 contingency workers at the Namdapha National Park (Project Tiger) here in Changlang district submitted a 20-day ultimatum to the principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF) on 1 June, seeking payment of their pending wages with the increased slab approved by the central government.
In a representation to the PCCF, forwarded through the NNP (PT) field director, the workers said
they would not allow execution or implementation of any developmental or welfare work in the park if their demand is not met by 20 June.
The ultimatum also warned of “launching a movement against the park authority with the support of labour union, NGOs and local leaders.”
The contingency workers have not been paid their wages for 14 months now, since April 2019.
During the visit of the National Tiger Conservation Authority’s member secretary and the Guwahati (Assam)-based inspector general of forest to Deban and Miao in November 2019, the NNP’s strike force and contingency workers had apprised them of the problems they are facing because of not receiving their wages.
The two officers had assured the workers that their wages would be released at the earliest. Seven months since then, not a penny has been released.
The strike force members and the contingency workers have been surviving on rations and other essential commodities provided on credit by grocers and other shopkeepers in Miao. Now the shopkeepers have stopped giving them rations on credit, owing to the backlog of dues.
On Friday, the United Miao Mission and its youth wing, the Miao Singpho Ramma Hpung, expressed astonishment at the negligence towards the workers, who are the backbone of the NNP (PT).
“How on earth can you expect someone to work on an empty stomach?” the organizations said in a joint statement.
They appealed to the PCCF and the NNP authority to clear the wages of the strike force members and the contingency workers immediately, along with the increased slab approved by the Centre.