Chandigarh: The warning of the Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann and the invocation of East Punjab Essential Services (Maintenance) Act (ESMA) barring all the government employees from leaving their place of posting till further orders, notwithstanding, the revenue staff has stuck to its call to go on an indefinite pen-down strike from September 1.
It may be recalled that over 2,000 employees under the aegis of Revenue Patwar Union and Revenue Kanungo Association, have called for the said strike from Friday over an alleged corruption case registered against a patwari and a kanungo in Sangrur district recently.
Selective Service During Strike
However, according to information, the employees leaders have held that they would only do the flood-related work in the patwar circle areas they were posted and not any other areas where circles where patwaris’ posts were lying vacant. There are said to be about 4,700 revenue circles while patwaris are posted in about 1,500 circles. They said that the government was forcing them to work more and was not willing to fill the vacancies.
Notably, the special chief secretary, revenue department, K A P Sinha had on Friday held – after invoking ESMA - that any violation of the order shall attract strict penal provisions under ESMA – which could lead to dismissal from service and imprisonment for up to three years.
Sinha’s order had stated that due to floods, immediate disbursement of relief material was needed for the affected population and that the services of revenue officials including patwaris, kanungos, circle revenue officials at the deputy commissioners offices were required for the maintenance of essential supplies and relief material, disbursal of crop compensation to the farmers, etc.
Government's Stance and Chief Minister's Ultimatum
Earlier, CM Mann had asserted that inconvenience caused to people due to whims and fancies of the revenue officers would not be tolerated at any cost. Mann had added that if they went ahead with the pen-down strike the state government would decide whether to give them their pens back or not.
He had, however, later asked them not to proceed with their proposed strike for their vested interests or in support of those facing corruption charges.
Meanwhile, it may also be recalled that the DC office employees association has also threatened to observe a pen-down strike from September 11 to 13 to press for their various demands.