GOALPARA, Sept 5 - The permanent employees of the Goalpara Muncipality Board (GMB) went on strike from Monday over non-payment of seven months� salaries and other dues, bringing all the official works of the Board to a standstill.
The 25 permanent employees of the GMB say that their pending salaries and dues are paid from the amount of Rs 91.80 lakh received recently as the first and second quarterly instalment of devolution funds under the award of 5th Assam State Finance Commission for 2017-18.
Meanwhile, talking to this correspondent, the secretary of Goalpara Municipality Workers� Union (GMWU), Anowar Hussein said that the strike will continue till September 9 next and if there is no progress, then the union is planning to go on an indefinite strike. He, however questioned the Board�s delay in taking a decision on payment of pending salaries and dues to all its employees from the devolution fund received by the Board recently despite the fact that several Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) of other districts have paid salaries to its employees from the devolution funds received by the respective Boards.
The secretary of GMWU also said that around 120 employees including labourers and sweepers, besides the 25 permanent employees have exerted pressure on the Government at various times to fulfil their long-standing demands. He added that among other demands, the union has asked for provincialisation of all the municipality workers as per the Cabinet decision taken on September 4, 2013 by the previous Congress Government, issue of notification of the staffing pattern of the regular employees as well as the safai karmacharis and Harijans, immediate payment of wages and other arrears by the GMB to all its retired employees. They have also demanded devolution of funds from the Government for payment of salaries and other arrears as per the 7th Pay Commission, regularisation of services of all the safai karmacharis and muster roll workers of the Board and others. Hussein also regretted that despite receiving great deal of inspiration for �swachhata activities� under the Swachh Bharat Mission, the grassroot employees who are at the helm of the work are neglected and not taken care of properly by the GMB.
Conscious citizens from the town have rued the fact that despite the municipality authorities levying high taxes for maintenance of basic civic services within the town, the Board is facing resource constraints and is not able to perform its duties efficiently. The three successive strikes by the employees of the Board within a span of a month have amply proved the deteriorating financial health of the GMB and they demanded that corrective measures should be taken immediately in the interest of providing efficient services to the people of the town.