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Blaming fund crunch, government fails to pay pending allowances; employees restive

dehradun Updated: Feb 16, 2018 20:53 IST
Deep Joshi
Deep Joshi
Hindustan Times, Dehradun
Uttarakhand news,pending allowances,employees

The restive employees have threatened that they can go to any extent if their allowances remained unpaid. (HT FILE PHOTO)

The Uttarakhand government has been deferring its decision to pay the pending allowances to more than three lakh employees as recommended by the 7th Pay Commission two years back with officials attributing fund crunch for the delay.

Meanwhile, the restive employees have threatened that they can go to any extent if their allowances remained unpaid.

“More than three lakh employees are waiting for pending allowances that have not been paid to them, for the past two years,” said Thakur Prahalad Singh, president of the State Employees’ Joint Council.

“There is a limit to our patience…We can go to any extent if the government continues to deprive us,” he said.

Officials, however, said the government had not been able to pay the employees their dues due to fund crunch it is facing.

An official estimate states that the total allowances to be paid to employees would come to ₹300 crore every year.

“Paying such huge amount to employees would pose an enormous financial burden on the state government, which has been grappling with a huge fund crunch,” an official in the state finance department, who did not want to be named, said.

Employees, however, rubbish the government’s fund crunch “excuse”. “The problem of fund crunch arises only when it comes to paying employees their allowances,” said Sunil Dutt Kothari, general secretary of the Uttaranchal Federation of Ministerial Services Associations.

“No such problem arises when politicians in power hike their own salary,” Kothari said, referring to the recently constituted House Committee by the state assembly to explore the possibilities of raising the salary of 71 lawmakers of the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party and opposition Congress.

State government employees have been paid their salary hike arrears and will also be paid the remaining arrears of their pending allowances, said finance minister Prakash Pant.

Singh, however, countered Pant, saying that the government had not agreed to pay employees three allowances--house rent allowance, border area allowance and child education allowance.

“The three crucial allowances remain unpaid despite the recommendations of the pay committee two years back that the state government pay employees their allowances like the central government employees.”

In January, the four-member committee headed by former chief secretary Indu Kumar Pande submitted its recommendations to the previous Congress government.

“The then (Congress) government had paid the salary hike arrears to more than 2.5 lakh state employees as recommended by the pay panel,” he said.

Later, the BJP government, which replaced the Congress in 2017 also paid the salary hike arrears to more than 80,000 employees of the urban local bodies and 50,000 employees of the two development corporations—the Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam and the Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam.

“Crucial allowances, however, have not yet been paid to the employees whether they are serving the state government or are on the payrolls of different urban local bodies or those with the two development corporations,” said Singh.

First Published: Feb 16, 2018 20:53 IST