Government urged to respond positively by January-end

Members of Odisha Ministerial Officers’ Association (OMOA) have decided to launch agitation if their demands are not fulfilled by the State government by the end of January.

“If our demands are not heeded by the State government by then, we will decide our next course of democratic agitation at a meeting to be held after the deadline,” said OMOA general secretary Prasanna Tripathy. The main demand of the OMOA is the equalisation of their pay on par with the heads of departments or staff of the State secretariat.

Speaking to newsmen in the city on Sunday, leaders of the association alleged that despite the promises made by the State chief secretary as well as Finance Minister, their demand was not fulfilled yet. Mr. Tripathy said: “Members of the OMOA play a major role in the administration. Most of them are district level ministerial officers and they are posted at district level.”

Earlier, their entry level qualification was graduation. But recently the State government has reduced the entry level qualification to these posts to +2 level. The OMOA leader alleged that anomaly remains in the pay-scale of OMOA members and other officers of State government of same level.

Mr. Tripathy said earlier a revenue inspector was getting pay on par with a junior clerk but now the pay scale of revenue inspectors has been increased to the pay scale of head clerks.

The assistant revenue inspectors and amins were also getting more pay than junior clerks, he said and added that even after promotion and ten years of service a junior clerk may get less pay than the revenue inspectors. The OMOA alleged that this anomaly in pay structure was causing problems in the administration process.

The OMOA also wanted enhancement of retirement age of government employees in the State. At present the retirement age of most State government employees was 58 years while for some it was 60 years. The association wanted retirement age of employees to be increased by two years. Central government and some other States have already increased retirement age to 60 years, while the Odisha government was silent on the issue.

House rent allowance

One of major demands of the OMOA was enhancement of house rent allowance of government servants serving in Ganjam district. At present the government servants in Berhampur are getting 10 per cent of their basic pay as house rent allowance, which was 5 per cent for employees serving in rural areas. “It is an irony that the government servants posted in municipal corporation areas of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack are getting 20 per cent house rent allowance. Though Berhampur is the third municipal corporation in the State the government employees here are not getting the allowance on par with their counterparts in Cuttack or Bhubaneswar,” said Mr. Tripathy.