The Government of Jammu and Kashmir on Monday imposed the Essential Service Maintenance Act (ESMA) as government employees continued with their strike for the third consecutive day.
The employees have been on strike for the last three days to press their demand for the release of arrears prescribed by the Sixth Pay Commission Report and the enhancement of retirement age from 58 to 60.
The state's cabinet on Monday, at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, decided to impose ESMA, which will deny employees their salaries if they do not come for work.
"We unanimously decided that the ESMA, which is already existing here will reiterate it and remind the employees that it is in operation here. No work, no pay; meaning the person who does not come to work would not get paid," said state Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather.
Rather also said the State Government is incurring a loss of 250 million rupees everyday with employees staying away from work.
"Everyday, we spend 25 crore rupees on employees' salaries. We will not waste this money anymore. This is not our money, this is public' money. We will have to answer in God's court and in public court. So if a person does not come to work, we are only wasting money, and I believe that it is one of the biggest sins. So we decided that who stays way from his or her duty, the person will not get his or her pay," added Rather.
All government offices, government schools, civil secretariat and Public Service Undertakings (PSUs) remained closed on Monday on a call given by various employee unions. Only emergency services in hospitals continued unhindered.
All directorate level offices in state summer capital Srinagar remained closed, including the directorate of the Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution (CAPD).