The 2,000 contractual employees of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) at Chandigarh are worse off than the langurs hired by the institute when it comes to salary.
A few years ago, the PGI authorities had hired two langurs to chase away monkeys from the campus after floating tenders, like it does in the case of contractual employees. While the langurs got a regular salary hike, the income of contractual employees remained stagnant. The institute is paying Rs 9,000 each a month for the two langurs. In contrast, Class 3 contractual employees are drawing Rs 7,980 and Class 4 workers Rs 6,954.
Yet, the caretaker of the langurs, Mohammad Ali, is not satisfied. "This money is too less. Langurs eat bananas and vegetables. The diet of one langur costs around Rs 4,000 a month," said Ali.
"The PGI is treating us worse than these animals despite the important role we play in its functioning," said PGIMER Contract Workers' Union president Sanjeev Kumar.
Strikes by contractual employees have paralysed services in this premier medical institution of North India on several occasions.