THE HIMALAYAN BEACON DARJEELING NEWS BUREAU
DARJEELING, 14 JANUARY 2018: West Bengal Casual Workers Association (WBCWA) has raised the issue of the problems faced by casual workers in Government and Government Aided Colleges in the State. Addressing the media, Mehboob Ali, the Vice President of the WBCWA said that the casual workers of Government and Government Aided Colleges faced a large number of problems. First of all they had no job security. They were hired and fired at the mercy of the College management. Similarly, their salary ranged from a mere Rs. 2000 to Rs. 7000 and not more than that. He said the College managements were hesitant to issue them even an identity card or any kind of a bona-fide certificates. Sadly, despite repeated requests to all concerned little had been done for the betterment of the casual workers of Colleges and as such they had come together to form West Bengal College Casual Workers Association in order to come together to fight for their own rights.
Ali said that in the pursuance of the same, the Association had written to the Chief Minister and demanded 60 years of Job Guarantee, meaning that the casual workers had to be guaranteed job up till the age of 60 years. This demand was of greatest priority to the association. He said that the association had given one month time to the government to act on the demand failing which the association members would fast unto death all over the state including before the Chief Minister’s office and the District Magistrate’s office in the District Headquarters.
Ali said that the Central Committee of the Darjeeling Chapter of the association had been formed. Gyanendra Sunar of Mirik College has been elected as the President. Puran Sarki of St. Joseph’s College has been nominated as the Vice President.
Dilip Pradhan of the Darjeeling B.Ed college said that nothing much had been done for the betterment of the college casual workers in Darjeeling Hills and they had to survive at the mercy of the college management.
Mehboob Ali said that the college casual workers in Darjeeling Hills had even been deprived of the ‘Swasthya Sathi’ card a scheme that offered basic health coverage of upto Rs. 1.5 lakhs. While this had been given to college casual workers in the plains, the District Magistrate office in Darjeeling which is supposed to distribute these cards when asked had no idea about it.
One of the members of the Central Committee of the Darjeeling Chapter of WBCWA said that there has to be some provision of job guarantee for the college casual workers. He lamented that despite the fact that the plight of the casual workers was well known no leader from any political party or the Member of the Legislative Assembly had done anything.
Pravin Thami is the Chief Cameraman and the Coordinator Darjeeling Region for ‘The Himalayan Beacon’.