Arunachal PWD to axe over ten thousand labourers

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Itanagar, Sept 21 (UNI) The public works department (PWD) in Arunachal Pradesh would soon heave a sign of relief as over ten thousand casual labourers working in the department have finally agreed to accept 'Golden Handshake' policy offered by the state government and would go on voluntary retirement.

The government recently announced to implement the 'Golden Handshake' policy, an attractive package of voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) to reduce over 30,000 casual labourers working in various departments.

The scheme would provide an ex-gratia of Rs 2000 and 15 days pay for each completed year for those labourers who have worked less than 15 years in a particular department. However, the government as per the scheme would consider re-engaging those labourers who have worked for over 15 years.

The policy offered by the state government in order to downsize the labour force mainly with the PWD, which had been eating into its resources, came under severe criticism from the All Arunachal Pradesh Workers Union (AAPWU) from the moment it was announced.

After several discussions and meetings, the union decided not to oppose the policy per se but refused to accept the Master Roll system.

The union's contention was that seventy per cent of those labourers with work experience of less than 15 years were locals and that their re-engagement on Master Roll would inflict insecurity on their livelihood.

Announcing to implement the policy within a day or two, PWD Minister Nabam Tuki after threadbare discussion with AAPWU members told a press conference today that the department accepted to withdraw the master roll system of reappointment of those casual labourers who would'nt like to go on VRS.

'' This overwhelming response from the labourers would take off a great burden from the department,'' Mr Tuki said.

Saddled with about 3,922 work charged employees and around 12,800 casual workers, PWD spends about 62 crores on their annual wage bills. In fact, there is no non-plan fund for maintenance of assets under the department and so a part of the plan fund is apportioned for the purpose.

UNI

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