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HindustanTimes Fri,24 Oct 2014

Civic body denies promotion, arrears to disabled fire officers

Poorvi Kulkarni, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, February 26, 2013
First Published: 02:19 IST(26/2/2013) | Last Updated: 02:20 IST(26/2/2013)

Vishwajeet Nikam, 48, who served as an assistant divisional fire officer with the Mumbai fire brigade, was denied his rightful promotion after he lost his left leg in a tree collapse in Mazagaon in 2008. Sanjay Salvi, 48, who served as a fireman, was sacked from service after a leg surgery left him paraplegic in 2003. He had to sell his apartment to pay for his expenses.

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While the state's office of the Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, which can act as special tribunal, had ruled in favour of Salvi and Nikam in 2010 and 2012 respectively, they are yet to get their arrears. The commissioner had also ordered the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to award them the promotions they were entitled to.

"After the accident, I was termed ineligible for reimbursements of telephone and electricity bills. My name was also removed from the list sent to the promotion committee, despite having the required seniority and merit," said Nikam, who studied fire engineering in the UK.

Salvi, meanwhile, awaits his salary for the three-year period, when his services were terminated. "I was hired again as a telephone operator in 2006. But, I have not yet received my salary from 2003-2006, despite a court order stating that my termination was unlawful," said Salvi.

Suhas Joshi, chief fire officer, said, "I am not aware of the status of the cases and do not have the details with me right now."

"The court had asked us to reconsider their cases. We have already made an exception to the BMC service rules and ensured pay parity to them," said a senior civic official, requesting anonymity.

Citing a recent example of the Indian Army, which promoted a wheelchair bound brigadier to the post of major general in 2009, Nikam said, "Being a government authority, the BMC is liable to follow the Persons With Disability Act. It is a matter of treating your officers with dignity. The BMC's disregard for court shows in the pitiable state of affairs."


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