12 differently-abled clerks fear losing their jobs at traffic prepaid booths
Balwinder Singh has not been able to send his two children to school, not because he is 70% disabled but because his daily wage has increased from only ₹101 to a measly ₹367.5 in 15 years of working at the booth.punjab Updated: Sep 11, 2018 14:06 IST
For the last two months, Balwinder Singh, 40, has not been able to send his two children to school. The reason behind it is not the fact that Balwinder is 70% disabled, but that despite being educated and working as a counter clerk at various taxi and auto prepaid booths across the city for 15 years, his daily wage has increased from only ₹101 to a measly ₹367.5. As a sole breadwinner for a family of six with no other source of income, Balwinder’s plight is pitiable, to say the least.
Similar are the stories of Balwinder and his 11 other differently-abled colleagues, most of them 70-100% disabled, who have not received their daily wages for the past two months. The 12 spoke to the media at the Sector-27 market and voiced their issues on Monday.
Employed by the Chandigarh traffic police in May 2003, the clerks were paid ₹101 as daily wage. Nine years after that, their wage was revised to ₹150. In December 2012, it was increased to ₹314 while in June this year, to ₹367.50, which totals to a monthly income of ₹11,025.
Meanwhile, with online taxi booking services entering the market, the prepaid booths are continuing to prove economically inviable, putting the differently-abled at a risk of losing their jobs.
“I have been working as a counter clerk at the prepaid booth for 15 years. I am overaged for any other job,” said Ranpal, 40, who is 80% disabled. “What is the point of giving our 15 years to this job? A child becomes an adult in 15 years. If we lose our job here, where will we go?,” he said.
No ear to hear
The differentially-abled persons said they had been writing to the governor, home secretary, UT advisor, MP Kirron Kher, inspector general (IG), senior superintendent of police (SSP), the Prime Minister and the President, highlighting their grievances, for the past eight years, but they have not received any response.
Jagdish Singh, 43, who is 80% disabled, adds, “The Prime Minister says we do a lot for the disabled, but we are grovelling in front of them for years now. What have they done so far?”
Fund crunch or apathy?
Constable Jitendra, who looks after the salaries, said, “We do not have any fund left in our prepaid booth account. How will we pay these differently-abled clerks their wages?”
While home secretary Arun Kumar Gupta said he was not aware of the matter, UT SSP (traffic) Shashank Anand said, “These are contractual employees and not on our payroll. Their daily wages are being paid from the ₹7 service charge that is collected from every auto ride booked at the prepaid booth.”
“Because of online taxi booking services, footfall at the booths has decreased drastically, making them economically inviable for the government,” Anand said.
When asked what would be the fate of these people, Anand said, “They will be duly compensated for their work done so far. If required, they will be rehabilitated.”
First Published: Sep 11, 2018 14:05 IST