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Payment to bill collectors, pump operators, peons, sweepers range from Rs. 300 to Rs. 1,500
Government passed an order on minimum wages six months ago which has not been implemented
Gulbarga: Most gram panchayats have not paid wages to its workers for the past 38 months.
The bill collectors, pump operators, and peons working in over 5,000 gram panchayats in the State are being denied the minimum wages fixed by the Government six years ago and without any job security, they face an uncertain future, said Jagannath Bhagodi, general secretary of the Karnataka State Gram Panchayat Noukarara Sangha.
According to Mr. Bhagodi, the gram panchayats like Kodi and Harnur in Jewargi taluk, have not paid any wages to the panchayat workers in the past 38 months.
Although the Government fixed a minimum wage of Rs. 2,380 a month for bill collectors; Rs. 2,180 for pump operators; and Rs. 2,130 for peons and sweepers, no gram panchayat in the State has implemented the order on minimum wages passed six years ago. While some of the gram panchayats paid monthly wages ranging from Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 1,500, a majority of them paid as low as Rs. 350 to Rs. 400 as monthly wages to gram panchayat workers.
Mr. Bhagodi accused the Centre for Indian Trade Unions (CITU) affiliated Karnataka State Gram Panchayat Workers’ Union for not protecting the interests of about 45,000 gram panchayat workers in the State. The union had neither taken up the issue of non-payment of wages to gram panchayat workers with the Government nor had it fought for implementation of government order on minimum wages.
Mr. Bhagodi said the Karnataka State Gram Panchayat Noukarara Sangha was formed under the leadership of Chandrasekhar Hiremath and a majority of gram panchayat workers had become its members. Mr. Bhagodi told presspersons here on Sunday that the gram panchayat workers were confident that Mr. Hiremath would help them to get justice.
According to Mr. Bhagodi, Mr. Hiremath had spoken to Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa and Panchayat Raj and Rural Development Minister Shobha Karandlagi about the condition of the gram panchayat workers who were not paid wages regularly. Mr. Bhagodi said the Chief Minister has invited Mr. Hiremath and a delegation of gram panchayat workers to discuss their demands and the dates of the meeting would be fixed shortly. Mr. Bhagodi said minimum wages for bill collectors should be fixed at Rs. 8,000 a month; Rs. 7,000 for pump operators; Rs. 6,000 for peons and sweepers.
The Government should release separate funds to facilitate gram panchayats to pay wages to its workers regularly, Mr. Bhagodi said adding that the Government should regularise the services of all workers in the gram panchayats and extend pension benefits to them.
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