“Over a year ago, a 27-year-old contractual employee, part of the government's tuberculosis control programme working in Ghaziabad, commitment suicide in his office leaving behind a note stating that he was taking this extreme step because he was unable to provide for his family on the salary that he was getting and could not continue with the work pressure. His job offered him nothing in terms of job security, health care benefits, pension or even compensation in case of death on duty,'' say All-India TB Control Programme Employees Association chairman R. M. Tripathi.

“His death highlights the plight of over 25,000 contractual employees of Revised National TB Control Programme, 519 of whom work in the Capital,'' he added.

The Association has now approached the Prime Minister asking him to intervene and look at providing justice to the contractual employees who are part of the successfully running TB programme in India.

“The service of contractual staff has been in use for the past 13 years and when we were initially recruited to various posts we were getting salary at par with the regular State government employees. But after implementation of the fifth and sixth Pay Commission while the regular employees are getting close to Rs.30,000 with all allowances we are getting only Rs.6,000 consolidated salary with no allowances while, of course, performing full duty,'' said Mr. Tripathi.

Exposed and at very high risk of getting infected from TB patients many of these contractual employees claim that they are also under treatment for TB and multi-drug resistance TB. “The employees taken on contract don't get promotions and are given no rewards and despite having approached every possible door with their grievances our problems have remained without any solution so afar. We have also gone on strike but the Government seems to have abandoned us,'' said Mr. Tripathi

Meanwhile, the Association has claimed that contractual employees working in other organisation including National Health Rural Health Mission, AIDS control programme have their salaries enhanced from time to time.

“The current price rise has hit us hard and we are unable to cope with our family responsibilities and if now despite our best efforts we still don't see any response from the Government, we will find it very difficult to motivate ourselves to continue working in this environment,'' noted the letter.

The Association is demanding that as has been done by the Tamil Nadu Government, contractual employees be absorbed as regular employees, provided equal pay as regular employees for equal work and all allowances and work benefits provided to permanent employees be extended to them.

Keywords: Service issues

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