Regularize over 5,000 casual employees within a month – GTA to State govt.

Darjeeling, Feb. 2: The GTA decided to “bulldoze” its way through to regularize the services of over 5,000 casual employees at the hill body by setting a time-frame of one month for the state government to do so, failing which the autonomous institution itself will appoint them.  “A resolution was passed today in the Sabha that we will give the state government one month’s time to grant permanent status to the casual workers. If the state government fails to meet our demand, the GTA will appoint these casual workers permanently as per the 2011 agreement. We (GTA) will also give them salaries,” said BhupendraPradhan, the GTA Sabha chairman, after the meeting.

The GTA today also formed a committee to look at the possibility of constituting the Subordinate Selection Board on its own, though doubts persist if the hill body has powers to make the casual staff permanent and put in place the recruitment board.

The decisions come in the backdrop of the state’s cancellation of a proposed meeting with the GTA on January 29 to discuss the regularisation of the casual staff. The Centre, too, had called tripartite talks with the state and the GTA in Delhi today but the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha alleged that the meeting had been cancelled because of the state’s unwillingness to attend the session.

Regularize over 5,000 casual employees within a month - GTA to State gov.
JAKS demanding their right to permanent employment

Today, the GTA Sabha held a meeting at Gorkha Rangamanch Bhavan in Darjeeling and passed a number of resolutions aimed at creating pressure on the state government.

Bhupendra Pradhan, the chairman of the GTA Sabha, said: “The Sabha today passed a resolution to write to the state to make the GTA workers permanent in one month. If they fail to regularise the jobs in a month, the GTA will start issuing appointment letters and we will pay their salaries from the GTA funds.”

At the moment there are 5,321 casual employees in the GTA and the hill body has 4,011 sanctioned posts which are vacant now.

Many administrative officials said it was not clear whether the GTA could issue appointment letters. “There can be no clear answer on the issue as it depends on the interpretations of the GTA Act and various government notifications,” said an officer.

Another officer, however, was of the opinion that the GTA had the power to issue appointment letters. “This is because there are 4,011 sanctioned posts. That the posts are sanctioned means that the government has given financial approval for the same. If the GTA makes appointment against the sanctioned posts, my opinion is that it cannot be termed illegal,” he said.

Some other officials, however, said since the salaries had to come ultimately from the state, it is a must to get a concurrence from the state on the regularisation.

The GTA Act has empowered the hill body to fill up vacancies in Groups B, C and D through the Subordinate Selection Board. The board is to be formed by the state government in consultation with the GTA. However, the board has not yet been constituted.

At today’s meeting, the GTA Sabha also formed a seven-member committee, which includes Ravi Inder Singh, principal secretary, GTA, Don Bosco Lepcha, secretary, GTA and Durga Kharel, nominated GTA Sabha member, to explore the possibility of forming the selection board.

“The committee will look into the provisions of forming the board as the state has failed to do so. We will bulldoze our way through as our people need jobs,” said Pradhan.

In another resolution, the Sabha said the GTA would regularize the jobs of 515 voluntary teachers if the government didn’t take an initiative in that direction.

“We will convene the Winter Session of the GTA on February 11 and 12 and come up with the budget. Our elected representatives will go to Calcutta along with GTA officials to place our budget before the state,” said Pradhan.

A resolution was also taken to distribute Rs 60 lakh each to 45 elected GTA Sabha members as part of the constituency development fund which had been due for the past two financial years.

Source Telegraph

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