Dalit memorials shut in Lucknow by protesting staff
Gates to the majestic memorials of Dalit leaders, built by the previous Mayawati-led BSP government, have been closed by the staff posted at these sites in Lucknow.india Updated: Jan 04, 2014 17:02 IST
Gates to the majestic memorials of Dalit leaders, built by the previous Mayawati-led BSP government, have been closed by the staff posted at these sites in Lucknow.
They are protesting against the state government's failure to pay them salaries for the past two months.
On Friday, hordes of visitors were denied entry to Ambedkar Park in Gomti Nagar, and Kanshi Ram Smarak and Eco Green Garden on the erstwhile Jail Road by the agitating employees.
"We have not received our salaries for the past two months. Besides, we have not been given pay parity with other government employees," said Chandrama Prasad, who was part of a protest demonstration at Kanshi Ram Smarak.
A similar protest was held at the main entry gate of Ambedkar Park.
The state government had sanctioned a budget of Rs 90 crore for 2013-14 for these memorials – built across Uttar Pradesh by former chief minister Mayawati as a symbol of empowerment for the Dalit community.
Around Rs 6.50 crore per month goes into the payment of the employees' wages.
The total employees posted at these memorials are 5,400. The protestors mainly comprised sweepers, house-keeping staff and horticulture employees numbering around 3,000.
The agitating staff raised slogans against their managers and the government.
"Initially, we wanted to submit a memorandum of our demands. But the employees became angry after the assistant manager refused to take the memorandum," said another employee.
Lucknow Development Authority (LDA) secretary AP Tiwari, who is member-secretary of the management committee of these memorials, admitted to the delay in payment.
"This is routine as the process is very time-consuming. The state government pays the salary, not the LDA. We prepare the wage bill but funds are released only after the bill is countersigned by the housing department," Tiwari said.
"We have spoken to the officials concerned and salaries would be credited to the employees' accounts by January 10."
The state government had also constituted a committee for downsizing of the memorial staff. However, the panel's recommendations have been gathering dust for over 10 months now.