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Prasar Bharati employees to hold demonstration

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, May 10: Akashvani and Doordarshan Administrative Staff Association has chalked out a series of agitational programmes, including sit-ins and march to parliament, to remove the anomalies in pay structure among different cadres.

Association General Secretary Sangam Thakur said when Prasar Bharati came into existence in 1997 during the United Front Government when Mr S Jaipal Reddy was the Information and Broadcasting Minister, there were three wings, Programme, Engineering and Administration, in the set-up.

After the implementation of the 5th Pay Commission, there was a parity among the three cadres.

However, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, through its order of February 25, 1999, upgraded pay scales of two cadres of employees, namely programme and engineering, advancing the plea that they had been agitating since a long time for improving their salary structure.

Mr Thakur said the ministry also pointed out that the salary structure of programme and engineering staffers was upgraded not as government servants but as ''government servants working in Prasar Bharati''.

Further, the upgraded pay scale was granted to the programme and engineering employees with a rider that they would furnish an undertaking of refunding the upgraded scale if they opted out of Prasar Bharati.

Immediately in 1999, members of the administrative cadre went on an indefinite strike, demanding pay scales at par with programme and engineering cadres. The strike last 26 days.

Association President S. Pandurang Rao and Mr Thakur, in a statement, said the Association had been fighting for their demand since then.

In August last year, Mr Reddy had invited the Association leaders for negotiations, and after several rounds of discussion, agreed to settle their demand.

''However, instead of taking action, the I and B Ministry has informed that the matter is proposed to be referred to a Group of Ministers recently constituted to study and finalise the affairs of Prasar Bharati,'' they said, adding that such a move was uncalled for.

''In the case of Engineering and Programme cadres, the benefit was granted after a negotiated settlement and it did not require constitution of a GOM then,'' the statement said.

They said the Association felt that only those issues which required a policy decision should be referred to the GoM. ''The latest decision by the ministry is nothing but to dilute the issue.'' As part of the agitation, the Association members will tomorrow hold lunch-hour demonstrations in all the Prasar Bharati units all over the country and send telegrams to the I and B Minister and the Secretary.

on May 17, a day-long dharna will be organised at Jantar Mantar in the capital. This will be followed by a 'March to Parliament' on May 18.

UNI

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