Windfall for Assam staff

Dispur appeases restive employees
Guwahati, Jan. 29: Dispur today conceded the key demands of its restive employees, agreeing to the three per cent annual increment based on basic pay and house rent irrespective of the fact if the beneficiaries live in rented accommodation or their own house.
Chief minister Tarun Gogoi announced this afternoon that employees would be getting an annual increment at the rate of three per cent of basic pay with retrospective effect.
The revised pay will be fixed notionally with effect from January 1, 2006, and there shall be no increment based on performance, the main bone of contention between Dispur and the employees.
The house rent allowance will be given at the rate of 15 per cent of basic pay in Guwahati city, 12 per cent in districts and subdivisional headquarters and 10 per cent in all other places in Assam without any distinction between rented accommodation and one’s own house.
Even casual workers benefited today.
Gogoi enhanced the fixed pay of the casual and ad hoc employees from Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,500 per month. He directed the finance department to take expeditious action to prepare revision of pay rules and other necessary government orders accordingly.
The Sadou Asom Karmachari Parishad, the apex body of employees which had been agitating against alleged anomalies in the revised payscales and wanted it to be on a par with central government payscales as promised by the chief minister, welcomed the announcements.
“Today, we will discuss the gains. We are thankful to the chief minister and the chief secretary for acting on our justified and key demands on increment, house rent allowance and arrears. The remaining demands will be handed by the anomaly committee that has been set up by the government,” Sadou Asom Karmachari Parishad secretary general Basab Kalita said.
The remaining demands include complete medical care reimbursement or Rs 1,000 a month and timescale promotion.
A source said the January 19 talks between the employees’ organisation and chief secretary Sharma, who was entrusted by Gogoi on January 16 to resolve the issue amicably and swiftly after the employees threatened to go on strike, hastened today’s announcements.
“The decisions were taken in that meeting which was cordial and productive. The chief secretary played a vital role in the resolution of the problem,” a source said.
Government spokesman Himanta Biswa Sarma said Dispur would be able to sustain the pay hike, which would cost the state exchequer between Rs 4,700 crore and Rs 5,000 crore a year.
“It will go on increasing every year given the three per cent annual increment. Problems will be there for the first three-four months. We will be able to sustain it given the present health of the economy, as we are sure our own revenue generation will also increase with each passing year. So far, we have not taken any overdraft,” Sarma said.
“It is for their good work that the state is progressing. But a section blames them of petty corruption. The onus is now on them to find out a way to change this perception and improve the work culture,” he said.