Members of the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union (PKMU) started a two-day protest in favour of their demands near the mini-secretariat here on Tuesday.
The protesters demanded the payment of the salaries of workers of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS) as, they alleged, the salaries of hundreds of workers have not been paid for over a year and the pending bill runs in crores.
State president of the union Jora Singh Nasrali said that the deputy commissioner had also admitted with a delegation of the union recently that an amount worth Rs 2.50 crore is yet to be paid to MNREGS workers. He said that families of these workers are facing hardships due to non-payment of salaries.
The protesters also demanded the release of old age and widow pensions and a grant for the Shagun scheme at the earliest. They also raised the issue of non-handing of the possession of five-marla plots of land to the poor. Nasrali said that the government had assured of this during the protest by farmers' unions and the PKMU, but the demand is yet to be fulfilled in the majority of the villages.
The protesters will submit a memorandum to the deputy commissioner on Wednesday and then end their protest.
DC office employees observe strike
Meanwhile, employees of the deputy commissioner's (DC) office observed a pen- down strike on Tuesday and staged a protest inside the mini-secretariat building. State vice-president of the DC office employees union Meharjitinder Singh said that the union members would go to Patiala on Wednesday to take part in the state-level protest there. The union is demanding release of dearness allowance (DA) and filling of vacant posts besides other demands.
Besides, employees of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) also staged a protest inside the civil hospital and submitted a memorandum of their demands to the deputy commissioner.