Consensus eludes all party meet
Political Delegation To Call On PM; Participants Oppose Raising Retirement Age
GK NEWS NETWORK
Jammu, Mar 31: An all party delegation from Jammu and Kashmir will call on the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh to seek special financial help for meeting the demands of the state government employees. The state government needs around Rs 4200 crore to pay the 6th pay commission arrears of its employees.
The decision was taken at an all-party meeting convened by the chief minister Omar Abdullah here Wednesday.
The meeting, however, failed to evolve consensus on the enhancement of retirement age of the government employees from 58 to 60 years as majority of the political parties, attending the meeting, were unanimous that the move will add to the plight of the unemployed youth.
Sources privy to the meeting told Greater Kashmir that Congress, BJP and Independent MLAs, who were present in the meeting, were unanimous in opposing any move to enhance the retirement age of the government employees.
According to sources, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah while making the government’s stand clear on the issue said while his government was serious about the employees’ demands, it has not the adequate resources to meet the same. “The government needs Rs 4200 crore to pay the sixth pay commission arrears, which the state was unable to manage at this point of time”, the Chief Minister reportedly told the meeting, adding, “The government was already overburdened with the whooping salary bill of Rs 9200 crore annually”.
Giving the background of the state of economy, Omar stated that despite resource constraints, the government has already conceded most of the demands of the employees including implementation of 6th pay commission pay scales. This has entailed an additional annual expenditure of Rs1800 crores. It was also highlighted that despite limitation of resource, J&K was one of the few States, which has implemented the 6th pay commission recommendations.
While appreciating the efforts made by the government to secure resources for payment of arrears to the employees, the political representatives attending the meeting unanimously resolved to approach the highest levels in Government of India as an all party delegation for a special grant to meet the employees’ demands.
It was also decided that before leaving for Delhi, the all-party delegation shall hold extensive discussions with the representatives of the employees unions for better appreciation of their point of view.
The participants deliberated at length on various aspects of the issue of enhancement of retirement age from 58 to 60 years, particularly in the context of its impact on the ever-increasing problem of unemployment in the State.
As no clear consensus could be evolved on this highly sensitive issue, it was decided that the issue of retirement age be deliberated upon further with different stakeholders, including the employees, with a view to arrive at a fair and rational conclusion.
While the senior Congress leader and former deputy chief minister Mangat Ram Sharma cleared his party’s stand on the retirement issue, another party leader Dharam Paul came in open support, completely in contradiction of his party stand. “The retirement age of the employees should be enhanced as it is genuine demand and it will also help the government to pay the arrears”, Dharam was quoted as saying.
However, the Congress leader was soon interrupted by the CM, who asked him to clear his stand in view of the opposition by his party on the enhancement issue.
Independent MLA from Langate Engineer Abdul Rashid also opposed the demand saying that it will be a major roadblock for the unemployed youth of the state. “The retirement age should instead be reduced to 57 so that the menace of unemployment can be fought”, he reportedly said.
CPI (M) MLA MY Tarigami was ambiguous on his party position over the issue. He reportedly said that both the demands of the employees as well as the position of the government were genuine. “While government was genuinely expressing its inability to meet the demands, employees’ demands can not be ignored”, he said.
He suggested that the government should find some alternative so that the situation, which may arise due to strike of the employees, can be avoided.
The participants at the all party meet included Congress delegation led by Pt Mangat Ram Sharma, National Conference headed by Chowdhary Muhammad Ramzan while Shamsher Singh Manhas headed BJP delegation, Hakim Muhammad Yasin of Peoples Democratic Front, Ghulam Hassan Mir of Democratic Party Nationalist, MY Tarigami of CPI (M), Ashwani Kumar of Jammu State Morcha, Tulsi Dass of BSP, Abdul Rehman Tukroo of CPI besides independent Legislators T Namigyal, Er Abdul Rashid and Charanjeet Singh also participated.
The Minister for Finance, Abdul Rahim Rather, Minister for Education, Peerzada Muhammad Sayeed, Minister for Rural Development, Ali Muhammad Sagar, Minister for PHE, Taj Mohi-ud-Din, Minister for Industries, SS Salathia, Advisors to the Chief Minister, Mubarak Gul and Devender Singh Rana, Chief Secretary, SS Kapur, Commissioner/Secretary, GAD, Basharat Ahmed and Law Secretary were also present in the meeting.
Lastupdate on : Wed, 31 Mar 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 31 Mar 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 1 Apr 2010 00:00:00 IST
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