Hyderabad, March 4 (IANS) In an unprecedented development, Andhra Pradesh government employees Friday staged a sit-in outside the office of Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy demanding payment of salaries.
More than 200 employees belonging to the Andhra and Rayalaseema regions gathered outside C Block housing the chief minister’s office at the state secretariat, the seat of governance. They were raising slogans demanding immediate payment of salaries for the month of February.
The employees later called off their protest after Chief Secretary S.V. Prasad assured them that salaries would be paid within 24 hours.
Due to the ongoing non-cooperation movement by about 300,000 employees in Telangana, many employees at the state secretariat and other offices in Hyderabad have not yet received the salaries.
Even Chief Minister Reddy, his cabinet colleagues and top bureaucrats did not receive their salaries on the first day of the month as the non-cooperation movement hit the preparation of pay bills.
Employees from Andhra and Rayalaseema working in various government offices in Hyderabad complained they were not given the salaries though they were regularly attending their duties. They said the non-payment of salaries even four days after the month began was causing them and their families severe hardships.
Under the non-cooperation movement, demanding introduction of a bill in parliament for formation of a separate state, employees belonging to the region are not doing the work though they are regularly attending offices. The stir, which began Feb 17, has badly hit revenue collection by various government departments.
The non-cooperation movement has also brought the administration to a standstill in the region comprising Hyderabad and nine other districts and people visiting various government offices for various services are facing severe inconvenience.
The General Administration Department has decided to pay salaries to only those employees who are doing their duties. It is going through records to check the number of days each employee has worked.
With the Telangana employees threatening indefinite strike from Saturday, a group of ministers Friday began another round of talks with leaders of Telangana employees. So far four rounds of talks have failed to resolve the stalemate.
Meanwhile, Chief Secretary S.V. Prasad told reporters that the government had not yet taken a decision on invoking the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) to tackle the employees’ stir.
The topmost bureaucrat said the government was also yet to decide on implementation of ‘no work no pay’ rule.
Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy once again appealed to Telangana employees Friday to call off their non-cooperation movement. He said people of the region was suffering because of this protest.
He told reporters that the implementation of welfare programmes had come to a halt, affecting 50 lakh families. He said 240,000 pensioners had not received their pensions because of the ongoing protest by employees. More than 1.1 million beneficiaries under various schemes have not received the benefits.