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Temporary employees languishing with paltry salary

By R. Krishnamoorthy

TIRUCHI, APRIL 15 . Employees appointed on a temporary basis by the State government, under the Tamil Nadu Education Department Medical Aid Scheme, 35 years ago, vide G.O. No. 315, Education, 1969, are yet to see light at the end of the tunnel.

Under the scheme, drivers, attenders and record clerks were appointed and doctors were recruited to work with a monthly honorarium.

They have been regularly conducting medical camps in schools with the amount generated from students at the rate of Re. 1 per student per annum.

The camps were conducted for days together in schools wherever the number of students was heavy.

However, of late, the scheme faces the ignominy of frittering away due to the dejection of the doctors, who find the honorarium disproportionate to the quantum of work they execute, and the employees who find the consolidated pay insufficient even for a hand-to-mouth existence.

The fund required to disburse salaries to these employees is raised from the students. There is neither any government assistance nor subsidy for the scheme.

Consequently, the salaries of these employees vary between Rs. 1,500 and Rs. 2,500 depending on the strength of the students in the districts where the scheme is operational.

Students of the districts, which had been carved out of the erstwhile bigger districts, cannot benefit from the scheme.

Four among these employees have retired without any gratuity, provident fund or pensionary benefits and about 10 have left the job.

Their requests for regularisation of their jobs have been given a shrift despite the fact that their service records are maintained and they are full-time employees, signing the attendance register on all working days.

They are entitled to casual leave, but have to go on a loss of pay while going on medical leave.

There are only 25 such employees remaining with the education department now.

According to M. Murugesan, State secretary of the Tamil Nadu Education Department Medical Aid Scheme Employees' Association, regularisation of their jobs does not entail additional expenditure for the Government since there was a sum of Rs. one crore as bank deposits under the scheme.

Also, the amount of Re. 1 per student per annum, decided decades ago, could be raised logically to provide succour to the beleaguered employees, he suggests.

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