Srinagar: The employees working in the Tourism Department’s Nigeen Club are alleging that the club is losing sheen due to official apathy.
The employees claimed that the Club has failed to retrieve over Rs 38 lakh from the members including old members.
Sources said that despite ample revenue, employees are being denied service benefits. “Official apathy has created a number of issues related to salary benefits of the employees. Majority of the service benefits of the employees are pending as authorities are sitting on the issue. The benefits include TA, CP fund, and arrears are pending for years. Despite the tireless work of employees, the officials are not paying heed to our issues. The employees have not received CP funds since October 2019,” they said.
An employee, who wished not to be named, said their seventh pay commission arrears are also pending for a long time. He said that TA benefits of the employees are pending for a year
“The service books of the employees are not maintained from 2012 which shows the non-seriousness of the officials from Tourism Department. These things are very unfortunate and are taking a toll on the employees,” he said.
A recent RTI revealed that the Club has failed to retrieve over Rs 38 lakh rupees from the members including old members.
“I had also filed the RTI in order to know about some details on the functions held in the club which is one of the main sources of revenue. Unfortunately, some of such questions were not answered by officials saying that personal information cannot be shared,” said the RTI applicant.
Greater Kashmir did a series of stories on the issues faced by employees and about the grievances of the members of the club. A club member said that earlier there used to be a hustle-bustle in the club, “but now it is not going beyond being a marriage venue.”
“I have been a regular member of the club but even I stopped visiting regularly due to lack of facilities. We used to have gaming facilities there and a good working gym but now most of the equipment is damaged and has not been replaced since the 2014 floods. The facilities like sauna bath are defunct for years now which used to be the center of attraction at the club,” said the member.
He said that the club has over 200 members. “But only a few are visiting due to these issues. Even the permanent staff at the club has been transferred and sent to other places. The club is a good revenue generator through marriage functions but still, employees don’t get service benefits,” he said.
The members and the employees said that an audit should be carried out to check the working of the club. Meanwhile, the RTI also revealed that in the last 10 years, no audit has been carried out on the club working.
In previous stories related to the club working, the in charge of the club told this reporter that the department is working on addressing the issues of employees and working on the up-gradation of the Club.
“The work to pay all the pending dues of employees is almost done. We are also addressing the grievances of Club members,” she said.
The official also revealed that only a few members are paying fees and the rest are defaulters. The official said that the revenue that the Club is getting from marriage ceremonies is all accounted for and is being handled by the accounts section of the Tourism department.
Officials said that they already worked on the upgrading of the gym and other equipment. They said they will soon procure new machines for the gym.
When contacted, Director Tourism, who is also the secretary of the club, did not respond to multiple calls of this reporter for his comments.