Tuesday, Nov 10, 2020 11:15 [IST]
Last Update: Tuesday, Nov 10, 2020 05:35 [IST]
DARJEELING: Most members of Darjeeling unit of United Employee Association (UEA) consisting of GTA casual employees got affiliated with TMC (hills) on Monday while GJM (BinayTamang camp) launched a new similar association at Kurseong.
On November 7, the Kalimpong unit of UEA had joined the TMC. It was claimed that about 2,500 members of the Darjeeling unit switched over to the TMC today.
UEA general secretary DeoPrakashKhawas said: “In these 30 years or so no local body or government has regularised us. We used to blame the State government but they are not at fault as in the past they had sent orders for this in 1995, 1997 and then 2009 stating that we should be regularised in the 3,472 vacant posts. But the ruling party here did not implement it.”
“We have taken this decision today for the benefit of the employees. We have to hold the hand directly of those that will fulfil our demand. It is a possible demand as we are already working in the vacant posts and seek to be regularised in these posts,” said Khawas.
TMC (hills) leader N.B. Khawas claimed that about 90 per cent of UEA members from Mirik, Darjeeling and Kalimpong are supporting the TMC which strengthens the party in the hills.
“They are not asking news posts to be created but want to be regularised in the vacant posts. In the past also regularisations have been done of others like primary teachers. It was due to the lack of will power that their demand has not been met as yet,” said Khawas.
The joining programme of Mirik is yet to be held.
There are presently more than 4,000 such pay band workers with most being appointed during the time of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council which was later replaced by the GTA.
Even as this development was taking place today at Darjeeling, the BinayTamang GJM camp formed its own body of casual employees called GTA KarmachariSangathan in Kurseong. The Morcha claimed about 800 GTA employees attended the meeting.
Addressing the gathering at Kurseong, Morcha leader AnitThapa said: “Till now they are many leaders in the hills who have done nothing. It takes an ability to take up this issue. Many do not speak on this issue with the State government in fear of losing their chair. But I will speak on it and will not mislead the people. However, this type of dispute within yourself will only take away the energy of who is working for you.”
“You all do not even have to be affiliated to any party as flags will not regularise you. The employees should not be divided as unitedly your voice will be stronger," Thapa told the GTA casual workers.
Thapa, also the GTA chairman,added that he was working for this issue and does not understand why the GTA casual workers got divided.
“I will try 100 per cent for this issue. The government is also positive on this. When we raised this demand recently, the Bengal Chief Minister said there were issues like finance and elections right now but she did not say it would not happen. We are trying to make them understand that there are vacant posts in the GTA,” said Thapa.
The UEA was earlier named the AsthayiKarmachariSangathan and was affiliated to the BimalGurung camp of the Morcha. In 2017, the association was reconstituted and decided to stay independent.
Later, the association got affiliated with the BinayTamang camp of the GJM.
Recently on November 2, the association again decided to stay neutral but the Kurseong chapter decided to stay with the BinayTamang camp.