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Court asks Government to pay salary to road workers

By Our Staff Reporter

CHENNAI, FEB. 5. The Madras High Court has directed the State Government to pay within a week one-month's salary to over 9,000 road workers rendered jobless after their posts were abolished in September 2002.

A Division Bench, comprising Justice V.S. Sirpurkar and Justice N. Kannadasan, passed the order on Tuesday after dismissing a petition filed by the Government, seeking a modification of the earlier direction on the ground that it would put an additional burden of Rs. 4 crores on it.

The Bench had granted interim relief to the road workers on a petition filed by the Tamil Nadu Highways Road Employees Association in December 2003, and directed the Government to pay the sum within three weeks. It had also stipulated that the dislodged workers be given preference in alternative employment whenever vacancies arose.

On September 5, 2002, the Government took a policy decision to abolish 9,728 posts of gang mazdoors to minimise road maintenance cost. It also decided to entrust road maintenance to private parties for three years.

Upholding the move, the Tamil Nadu Administrative Tribunal directed the Government to give the workers six months' salary as compensation.

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