The Joint Action Committee of Telangana employees, teachers and gazetted officers today boycotted crucial talks with the Andhra Pradesh cabinet sub- committee over the proposed general strike from August 17, demanding withdrawal of certain orders invoking Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) in different departments.
The JAC also demanded an assurance from the government that ESMA would not be invoked against employees, as a pre- requisite for holding talks.
It also wanted immediate withdrawal of para-military and security forces deployed in government offices.
The JAC had served a notice on the government late last month threatening to go on an indefinite general strike from August 1 demanding apart from service-related issues, the creation of Telangana state. Subsequently, the strike was put off till August 17.
The cabinet sub-committee on employees, comprising Deputy Chief Minister Damodar Rajanarasimha and four other ministers, had invited the JAC leaders for talks today in a bid to avert the general strike.
After a lot of deliberations, the JAC leaders decided to attend the talks but they came to the state Secretariat with a letter to the cabinet sub-committee placing three fresh demands as a “pre-requisite for holding discussions on the issues.”
After handing over the letter to the sub-committee members, the JAC leaders walked out of the meeting.
“We demand that the government withdraw its recent orders enforcing ESMA in certain departments and not invoke the draconian law against employees. All police and para-military forces deployed on the premises of government offices and departments should be withdrawn forthwith,” JAC chairman K Swamy Goud told reporters later.
He accused the government of vitiating the atmosphere by invoking ESMA in some departments.
“This is, to say the least, duplicity on part of the government as these measures smack of lack of confidence in the employees. Further, these measures are aimed at intimidating the employees whose demands are legal, constitutional and democratic,” Goud said. Economic Times