Bihar readies for disciplinary action against striking staff

January 23rd, 2009 - 6:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Sushil KumarPatna, Jan 23 (IANS) After over 300,000 of its striking employees refused to return to work, the Bihar government sought explanations from them and hinted of a disciplinary action against them, an official said Friday.The government issued them show-cause notices Thursday, a day after the deadline to resume work lapsed. It warned the employees of action under section 8(2) of the Bihar Government Servant Conduct Rules, 1976, including denial of salary and suspension from work.

The striking employees did not return to work as their demands were not accepte0d by the government.

The state employees went on a strike for an indefinite period early this month, demanding implementation of the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission in “letter and spirit” after failure of talks with Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, who also holds the finance portfolio.

The indefinite strike has affected the functioning of the government departments and hospitals across the state. The strike continued for the 17th day Friday.

Most of the government offices, particularly the treasury and registration departments, wore a deserted look. Functioning of the Patna Medical College and Hospital and the Nalanda Medical College and Hospital here is virtually paralysed.

Similarly, all the display galleries at the Patna Museum remained closed, disappointing hundreds of visitors and resulting in a huge loss of revenue.

Earlier, the striking employees ignored the state government’s “no work, no pay” warning.

“We will not end our strike unless our demands are accepted by the government,” said Manjul Kumar Das, general secretary of the Bihar State Non-Gazetted Employees Federation (BSNGEF).

Das claimed that functioning of the government, from the block to the secretariat level, came to a standstill. “There is total strike. Only five percent of the pro-government employees are attending work,” he said.

Leaders of the striking employees also described Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s remarks during his ongoing vikas yatra as pack of lies. Kumar rejected their demands and said his priority is to solve the poor people’s problems and meet their basic requirements.

Kumar said his government is spending Rs.16,000 crore (Rs.160 billion) annually on payment of salaries and pension while the plan size of the state is only Rs.13,000 crore (Rs.130 billion). He said it was not possible for him to arrange the fund to meet all the demands.

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