The ‘indefinite’ sit-in protest of contractual employees from different departments of the Punjab government entered its third day on Tuesday. They have been blocking the Bathinda-Chandigarh national highway at Rampura Phul since Sunday.
The employees, united under the banner of ‘Theka Mulazam Sangharsh Morcha’ (TMSM) which consists of 22 different organisations, are demanding regularisation of their services.
Efforts of the district administration to persuade them to end the blockade have not yielded any positive result so far. TMSM leaders allege that though the government claims to have taken a decision regarding regularisation of contractual employees, there is yet no clarity about it in the public.
They are also demanding that cases registered against the protestors during the agitation should be withdrawn and sacked employees of thermal plants and Suwidha centres should be re-employed. Protests march was also held in villages Kotra Kaura, Balianwali and Bhunder.
Volunteers of Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU-Ekta Ughrahan) are also serving langar (community kitchen) to the protesters as a gesture of support. On Tuesday theatre artists also performed a ‘nukkad natak’ in solidarity with the employees. The protesters claimed that in PUNBUS (Punjab Roadways) all 4,500 drivers and conductors are employed on contract and the number of such employees in Pepsu Roads Transport Corporation (PRTC) is 2,000. Jaspal Singh, a contractual employee of PRTC, said that drivers were being paid Rs 8,000 salary against the stipulated Rs 11,500.