GUWAHATI: There is resentment brewing among municipal employees of urban local bodies across the State as they have not received salary for the last 3-42 months.
All Assam Civic Bodies Workers' Federation president Gias Ali said that they had six demands and on September 1, the Federation held a meeting with the Commissioner & Secretary of the Housing and Urban Development Department, Kavitha Padmanabhan to place their demands before her.
Talking to The Sentinel, Ali said that there were 101 urban local bodies (ULBs) across the State. Out of these, 20 ULBs are in the Sixth Schedule areas. There are 5,886 employees working in these 101 ULBs. "Municipal workers are of three types – regular, contractual and master roll. It is unfortunate that the government has not yet provincialized the services of the municipal workers," he said.
On May 31, 2021, the Legislative Department, Government of Assam, published the Gazette notification on provincialization of 1,653 municipal employees who were appointed on or before September 4, 2013 out of the total strength of 5,886 posts.
Ali said that the government had assured that the remaining municipal employees would be provincialized phase wise soon. "However, this has not happened as yet. Moreover, although 1,653 municipal employees were provincialized as per the Gazette notification, the remaining process work for their provincialization has not been completed," said Ali.
He added that Commissioner & Secretary Kavitha Padmanabhan assured the Federation in the meeting that after discussion wit the department minister, the process work as well as the provincialization of the remaining municipal employees would be done by March, 2023.
Regarding the pending salary of municipal employees, Ali said that some municipal boards like Jorhat, Golaghat, Tinsukia, Rangia and Barpeta generated revenue through collection of taxes etc and could pay the salary of the employees. However, the other ULBs had to depend on the government for fund for payment of salary of employees. He lamented the fact that municipal employees had not been paid pending salary for 3-42 months and these employees were facing financial hardships in running their families.
"The Commissioner and Secretary assured that she would look into the matter and take steps for the release of the pending salaries of the municipal employees," said Ali.
The Federation has demanded staffing pattern of ULBs. The 4th Assam State Finance Commission recommended a uniform staffing pattern for ULBs on the basis of population as per the 2001 census. The State Cabinet meeting held on September 4, 2013 had approved the staffing pattern and staff strength of ULBs at 5,886 with their corresponding pay scales as per ROP Rules, 2010. Only notification by the Urban Development Department, Government of Assam, is required for implementation of the Cabinet decision. The Guwahati Development Department has already issued the notification of proposed staffing pattern in 2017 based on the Cabinet decision.
Ali said, "The Government of Assam has proposed to create three new Assam Municipal Service Cadres for the purpose of appointment in the municipal boards. These are Assam Urban Administrative Service, Assam Urban Financial Service and Assam Urban Engineering Service. We demand the government to make provision to appoint the existing municipal employees in appropriate posts based on qualification, verification and experience without appearing in any cadre."
The other demand included providing pension benefit to municipal employees.
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