A large number of village assistants on Monday carried out protest demanding, among others, regularisation of their service. The protest was part of the Statewide demonstration called by the Karnataka State Government Revenue Department Village Assistants Association.
The association’s Dakshina Kannada unit’s General Secretary M. Krishnappa Poojary said the government though has made permanent the post of village assistants in 2007 it did not regularise services of those who are working on those posts. They are working on an honorarium of Rs. 7,000 per month. “Our demand for regularisation of service has been pending for several years,” he said.
Among those who took part in the protest included some working as village assistants for more than four decades. One among them was Lokayya Kottari, who has been working since 1970. “When I joined I was receiving Rs. 27 per month. Following several years our honorarium has come to this level,” he said.
Sitaram Gowda, who joined in 1983, said the government while paying the honorarium had not considered the service put in. “Those joining now and those working for over several years are being paid the same. We have been denied promotion,” he said. Linagappa Gowda, who joined in 1978, said the government failed to acknowledge services we put in.
In Udupi, members of the Udupi unit of Karnataka State Revenue Department Village Assistants’ Association staged a dharna in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s Office on Monday.
Speaking on the occasion, Chandrashekhar Shettigar, president of the Udupi district unit of the association, said that there were 10,450 village assistants working throughout the State including 225 in Udupi district.
Abdul Razak, president of Udupi taluk unit of the Association, said that it was the village assistants who did the tough jobs including surveying houses damaged during the rainy season. Though they were put on election duty, they were not paid any dearness allowance, travelling allowance or food allowance. Hence, the government should provide them with Election Allowance.
Many village assistants had died during their service, but their families had not been given any benefits. The village assistants who had retired did not get any pension benefits, he said.
Mr. Shettigar said that the services of the village assistants should be regularised and considered on par with Group ‘D’ employees. They should be given pension facility on retirement. The village assistants, who had put in 10 years in service, should be promoted, and the posts which were vacant in the Revenue Department should be filled.
Many posts of village assistants were vacant. These posts should be filled by appointing a family member of a village assistant, who had either died or retired. The retiring village assistants should be given a relief of Rs. 2 lakh. The medical facilities enjoyed by the Government employees should be extended to village assistants, he said.