Contractual employees of suwidha centres across the state went to pen-down strike till September 10 and adding the worries of the administration, they joined the strike at Chandigarh without sharing passwords of the systems.
The employees have been protesting the state government’s decision to shift them to sewa kendras, which are being run by a private company. They are demanding that before transferring them, they should be regularised.
To foil the strike, the administrative officials deputed the regular employees so that suwidha centres run smoothly. But the move failed to bear any fruit as the staff could not mange to unlock the computers without passwords, which are with striking employees who are in Chandigarh now.
“We are not able to provide the services to the people as we are not able to even start the computers. All the systems are password-protected,” said a regular employee, deputed at a suwidha centre.
Besides the work on the computer systems, the employees also failed to facilitate the service seekers with the sale of forms.
Citizens bear the brunt
Citizens coming to avail the services at the suwidha centres inside the Mini Secretariat faced a harrowing time due to the strike.
“I have come here to apply for birth certificate of my son. But after reaching here, I got to know about the strike. The security guards deployed here did not even let me enter the premises,” said, Rajwinder Kaur, a resident of Model Town.
Employees blame govt
The employees of the suwidha centres feel they have been left in the lurch by the government. Many of them joined the state-level protest rally at Chandigarh.
Harmeet Singh, president, Punjab State Suwidha Employee’s Union, said besides the several ultimatums to the representatives of Punjab government, they did not take their matter seriously and forced them to stage the protest.
He said, “We held a meeting with director, governance reforms, Punjab on September 1, and requested him that the employees of the suwidha centres should not be merged with the sewa kendras’ staff. But he informed us that all the work regarding this has been done and they have to join under the purview of the private company.”
Deputy Commissioner (DC), Patiala, Ramvir said not sharing the passwords seemed a deliberate act and would probe the matter.
“31 sewa kendras in the urban areas of the district remain opened to provide services to the citizens. We tried to reduce the trouble caused due to the strike by deputing regular staff at suwidha centres,” said DC.