The future of 67 contractual employees working with the welfare department is at stake with the department writing a letter to all district welfare officers (DWOs) informing them that it does not need the services of these employees from January 1.
Of these employees, 55 are working as sewadars while 12 are employed as watchmen. At present, they are working in district and tehsil offices of the department across Punjab.
Most of them belong to weaker section and have termed the move as the government’s “New Year gift” to them.
The department is citing the reservation policy as the reason behind this. The letter reads that on the place these class-4 employees, the department would appoint clerks for which it would inform the offices concerned soon.
As per the letter issued on December 24, services of 10 contractual employees deputed in the Punjab State Commission for Scheduled Castes, two at the directorate’s office and one at the Punjab State Backward Classes Commission will be retained.
Speaking with HT, an employee said he gets only Rs 5,900 from the department as monthly salary and his family is entirely dependent on him for their livelihood. He said that it will be very difficult to get the new job and the government should think about future of families of all contractual employees.
A contractual sewadar said that he belongs to the poor family and working in the department for past few years.
It is injustice with them as they were performing their duties and will hold a protest against the government if it fails to reconsider the decision.
A district welfare officer said the department is already suffering from staff shortage and the decision would add to their woes only.
He said theft incidents in their offices are a routine affair as several district offices are not guarded during the night.
Minister for welfare of scheduled castes and backward classes Gulzar Singh Ranike said he was also shocked over this and he has talked to the secretary over the issue. He assured that none of them will be terminated.
Department secretary Kirpa Shankar Saroj said it was a mistake as the services of 67 employees will not be terminated.
He said the department is taking care of all things as the step will be taken only there where it is necessary.