Govt Disengages 135 Daily Wagers Due To Funds Crunch

Srinagar- Over 135 daily wagers working with the Central Institute of Temperate Horticulture (CITH) for the last twelve years, have been disengaged by the government due to paucity of funds.

A group of labourers told Kashmir Observer that they have been working with Director Central Institute of Temperate Horticulture (CITH) for decades as daily wagers and were disengaged by the department few days ago without any notice.

“Where will we go this time? Questioned Aadil Ahmad, a labourer.

He said the department suddenly issued an order on February 1 that they have been disengaged.

The agitated workers held a protest outside the main campus of CITH at Kralpora Rangreth.

They were joined by Chairman RTI Movement Raja Muzaffar Bhat.

Bhat in a statement said that “More than a dozen among these labourers are experts in horticulture activities who have set up ultra high density apple, pear, peach, walnut and almond plantations in the area,” he said.

Bhat further added that the state land belonging to villages of Kralpora and Wathoora was provided by J&K Govt in 1994 to Ministry of Agriculture Govt of India (ICAR) and the locals from these villages and other areas who work on mere Rs 300 to 400 per day are being thrown out by the CITH.

“This is complete injustice,” Bhat said.

Om Chand Sharma, director of the department told Kashmir Observer that due to lack of funds they have reduced the size of labourers. He, however, said that they have raised the issue with the higher authorities and as soon as the funds will be released, they will be hired again.

“See, they have been hired through an outsourced agency not by the department but due to a crunch of funds, we couldn’t use their services but we have written to higher officials regarding the issue. I am hopeful they will release the funds in the next fiscal year,” Sharma told Kashmir Observer.

Sharma, however said that he has no idea who the funds will be released.

CITH is a research institute with headquarters in many hilly states of the country including in Srinagar.

However, the labourers told Kashmir Observer that they were told that work will be provided only for six days.

“Six days of work will fetch us just a few bucks, what will we do? Ahmad said.

The daily wagers threatened that if their demands weren't met, they would intensify the protest.

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Auqib Javeed

Auqib Javeed is special correspondent with Kashmir Observer and tweets @AuqibJaveed

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