Government employees protest in Shimla, seek restoration of old pension scheme - Hindustan Times
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Government employees protest in Shimla, seek restoration of old pension scheme

By, Shimla
Mar 04, 2022 02:47 AM IST

Various employees’ unions staged a protest in Shimla demanding restoration of old pension scheme. Members of union started to gather in the town in the morning, while the government stopped the buses at Chakkar, Jutogh and Boileauganj

Demanding the restoration of the old pension scheme (OPS), thousands of government employees in the state laid siege to the town’s main circular road causing great inconvenience to commuters. The police had to use water cannons to disperse them.

Demanding the restoration of the old pension scheme, thousands of government employees staged a protest in Shimla. The police had to use water cannons to disperse them. (HT Photo)
Demanding the restoration of the old pension scheme, thousands of government employees staged a protest in Shimla. The police had to use water cannons to disperse them. (HT Photo)

Various employees’ unions had given a call for protest in Shimla. Members of the union started to gather in the town in the morning, while the government stopped the buses at Chakkar, Jutogh and Boileauganj.

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Determined to get their demand accepted and implemented before the assembly elections, the protesters left no stone unturned to build pressure on the administration by obstructing the national highway at 103 tunnels where they were intercepted by the police. Water cannons and an anti-riot van had been deployed to stop them.

Employees who joined government service from January 1, 2004, are covered under the NPS. The new pension scheme is a contributory scheme in which the government and employees contribute an equal portion towards the pension fund while in the old pension scheme, employees with 20 years of service used to get 50 percent of the last drawn salary as a pension.

Commuters, mainly senior citizens and school-going children, had to bear the brunt of the cold and foggy weather when the agitated unions laid siege to the road. “I walked 3 km to reach the bus stand,” said Kartar Singh, a commuter.

Akshit Sharma, a student, and his brother were caught up in a traffic jam near the 103 tunnels for more than four hours. The police had parked buses to block the employees from going forward, but they broke the barricading.

The police cane-charged the protests on the main road near the railway station when they tried to march towards the Vidhan Sabha. However, they managed to reach the Vidhan Sabha premises and raised slogans.

Urban development minister Suresh Bhardwaj tried to pacify the agitating employees, but to no avail.

Chief minister Jai Ram Thakur said his government always held talks with the employees with an open mind-set. He said the previous Congress government had accepted the proposal from the Central government for OPS in 2003. Rather, it was the first government in the country to do so, he said. “Not once but several times I have said that the government was open to listening to their demands, but the agitation is not the way,” he said.

He appealed to employees to give up the agitation path.

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