Seeking regularisation in their services, hundreds of rural pharmacists and Class IV employees working in different health and veterinary dispensaries across the state staged a massive protest and gheraoed residence of Surjit Singh Rakhra, Punjab rural development and panchayat minister at Rakhra village on Tuesday.
The protestors under the banner of the Rural Health Pharmacists' Action Committee also blocked traffic on the Nabha-Patiala road for more than one hour.
Ram Singh, state convener of the committee said they have been working as contractual employees for past several years as the government was extending their contract year by year instead of regularizing their services.
The contract for this year is going to end on May 31.
He said the pharmacists were getting merely Rs 7,000 per month against Rs 16,290 according to the
government grade, while Class IV employees were forced to work at Rs 3,000.
"The government has brought us under the zila parishad health institutions in 2011 and since then we are made to work on contract basis. The government has even failed to take serious note of our repeated demand of regularsing jobs", he said.
The agitators rued that despite orders, the state government has failed to take action against unqualified pharmacists working in the health centres for past many years.
The state government had issued a letter on January 28, 2010, in which it stated that all dispensaries must appoint qualified pharmacists according to norms of the Pharmacy Act,1948, so that upkeep and distribution of the medicines should be done by registered and qualified pharmacists.
Meanwhile, the agitators also handed over a memorandum regarding their demands to Rakhra and also held meeting with representatives of the committee.