Functioning of Rural Development Department offices was paralysed as the Tamil Nadu Rural Development Officers’ Association (TNRDOA) went on an indefinite strike from Tuesday to highlight their demands.
The protesting TNRDOA members said the panchayat secretaries should be given salary on a par with record clerks. Conduct of meetings in late hours, particularly after dusk should be stopped and the rural development department officials and their subordinates should not be asked to work on holidays. Since the smooth functioning of the rural development department has been badly hit owing to the thousands of existing vacancies, recruitment of qualified personnel to fill-up these posts should be started immediately.
The subsidy of Rs. 12,000 being given for individual household toilet should be increased to Rs. 20,000 and computer operator posts should be created in all panchayat unions. Those who working in these posts temporarily should be recruited directly, were some of their other demands.
After considering the earlier ‘strike period’ as ‘service period’, salary for the strike period should be disbursed immediately, they said.
To highlight their demands, a group of TNRDOA members staged a demonstration in front of the Palayamkottai Union Office.
Nearly 475 members of the TNRDOA in the district participated in an indefinite strike.
One of their demands was that panchayat clerks should be paid on a par with record clerks. “After the Seventh Pay Commission, panchayat clerks have been getting only Rs. 12,500, while record clerks get Rs. 18,000,” said S. Mahendraprabu, district president of the association.
Other demands include filling of vacancies in the department, and periodic promotion for Road Inspectors and Office Assistants.
In Ramanathapuram, TNRDOA’s district secretary K. Somasundar said the strike was almost total. The strike would continue as talks with the government in Chennai on Tuesday had failed.
In the absence of elections to local bodies, the 429 panchayts in the district failed to get funds under the state finance commission. In the absence of funds, they could not pay salaries to the panchayat staff, he said.
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