SHILLONG, JULY 14: Aggrieved candidates for the post of jugali today decided to stage an indefinite strike by abstaining from their work and protest in front of MeECL’s office if appointment letters are not issued by next week.
The decision was taken after a two-day sit-in-demonstration of the qualified jugalis backed by the Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM)’s State Youth Wing at the parking lot near the Additional Secretariat here in the city on Friday.
Memorandums were also submitted to the chief minister Mukul Sangma and power minister Sniawbhalang Dhar for their intervention into the delay of the Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL) to appoint all the candidates declared as qualified for the post of jugali.
“We will wait for the chief minister and power minister to take necessary steps on the matter till Tuesday. However, if there is no positive response by Wednesday, we will immediately stage an indefinite strike,” KHNAM youth wing president Thomas Passah told reporters.
During the indefinite strike, he said that the candidates, who are also at present working as casual employees (jugali) in the different sub-stations of the MeECL for the past 10 to 20 years, will abstain from their work.
“We will be sitting everyday in front of the MeECL’s office till its authority is ready to comply with our demand which is to appoint all the 466 out of 772 candidates declared as successful for the post,” Passah added.
Alleging that the incharge of some sub-stations have also threatened the casual employees from participating in the protest, Passah said, “We demand the power minister to intervene as the department cannot hold them ransom as they are just demanding their rights,” adding “If the power minister thinks that he is too busy in his own constituency due to election, then he should quit the post.”
According to him, the functioning of the MeECL is likely to be hit if the casual jugali, who are waiting for appointment letters, go on strike as they are the backbone of the department.
It may be mentioned here that the MeECL had declared as many as 772 successful candidates for the Jugali posts, which were advertised way back in 2011, in August last year after series of agitations. It also agreed to complete the process of appointment in phase manner.
Of these, only 290 jugalis were appointed under first phase so far. However, the rest 482 candidates under the second and third phase are yet to be appointed till date, despite of the fact that the validity period of the merit list is bound to expire on August 2, this year.
Earlier on the delay of issuing the appointment letter to the candidates, the MeECL had cited the reasons due to late issuing of police verification which is required to be produced by candidates before appointment besides facing huge financial crunch.
Condemning the MeECL’s apathy attitude, Passah said, “The decision of the MeECL to issue appointment letters to the jugali in phase manner is seen as a delaying tactic to deprive some of these candidates their rights to fair appointment.”
“Its earlier claim of facing financial problem cannot be accepted since it has created the post of 772 jugalis,” he said.
Asked, Passah said that the casual jugalis are now getting a meager amount of Rs 5,000 and once their posts is regularized and are given appointment letters they will be getting a pay scale of Rs 16,000.
Meanwhile, the protesters maintained that they would leave it to the wisdom of the MeECL on whether it will extend the validity period of the merit list as their demand is clear that all should be given appointment within three weeks.