GUWAHATI, Aug 16 - Left in the lurch following the government�s decision to take over the Brahmaputra Ashok Hotel, its 50 contractual employees, who are likely to lose their jobs, are running from pillar to post to get justice.
The agitating employees had planned to stage a demonstration on Tuesday during the unfurling of the National Flag on the hotel premises. But the Assam Tourism Development Corporation (ATDC) allegedly changed the timing of the programme to avoid any untoward situation during the Independence Day celebrations.
These employees have now written a letter to the HR Manager of the Hotel, seeking relevant documents regarding their appointment. �We feel cheated. We do not have relevant documents to prove that we are part of the organisation. We cannot even approach the court as we were not given any appointment letters, proof of joining, etc. We have asked the hotel authorities to provide us our appointment letters and other documents,� said an aggrieved staff of the Hotel.
According to the aggrieved staff, the contractual employees were directly employed by the Hotel until 2011. Later, a company was created under the name, RM Enterprise, and the contractual staff were asked to join it. The company used to pay the salaries of the staff till another company by the name of Brahmaputra Enterprise was floated.
The aggrieved staff have now demanded a copy of the agreement signed by RM Enterprise and the Brahmaputra Enterprise with the hotel authorities. The hotel was under the ITDC until the ATDC took over recently.
It is learnt that the 56 permanent staff of the hotel have been offered VRS, while the contractual staff have not been given any benefits.
The State government plans to convert the iconic hotel into a State guesthouse. There are two State guesthouses in the city. One has been occupied by former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and another by his successor, Sarbananda Sonowal.
Opposition leader Debabrata Saikia also smelt a rat in the government�s decision to convert the hotel into a guesthouse when there are two State guesthouses already.
�Where will these 50 staff go? The move to close down the hotel will benefit the other private sector hotels in the city. Earlier, all government programmes were used to be held at the Brahmaputra Ashok. Why can the government not continue to run the hotel and earn revenue from it?� Saikia questioned.
He said Chief Minister Sonowal was allotted two official quarters, which were merged and made bigger at his instruction. �Why don�t the CM shift to the quarters and vacate the State guesthouse?� he said.
Saikia said former CM Tarun Gogoi has also been allotted quarters but due to security concerns, he has not yet shifted to it. �The State government should arrange a secured accommodation for Gogoi so that he can vacate the guesthouse, which he is willing to do,� Saikia added.
The Brahmaputra Ashok Hotel, located on the scenic banks of the Brahmaputra, has served a number of Presidents and PMs, besides hosting the Indian cricket team and serving food at the National Games held in Guwahati.