Staff Reporter

Loss of revenue to government put at Rs. 5 crore a day

31 out of 49 eSeva centres in the city remain closed

Company’s unwillingness to implement minimum wages accepted by the government

HYDERABAD: It took almost half-a-day for P. Venkata Reddy, a resident of Marredpally, to pay his power bill. He went to the nearest eSeva centre at noon and was directed to Khairatabad centre that was one among the few functioning ones in the city. He reached the centre by 3 p.m. and had to wait for three hours to pay the bill.

“It was a tedious exercise coming all the way till here by bus only to be kept on a long wait,” he grumbled. G. Gopal, an employee working with a service firm, said he had been spending three to four hours in the centre to pay the bills.

Long wait

“It used to be just half-an-hour earlier, and it’s disappointing to wait in such a long queue,” he complained.

Although the 40-day State-wide strike by eSeva contract employees was called off on February 26 itself, 31 out of 49 centres in the city remain unopened as yet. People are forced to find out the working centres and withstand the long queues, losing their valuable work hours.

Spanco pre-condition

The reason for present stalemate is the contracting company’s unwillingness to unconditionally implement the minimum wages accepted by the government, said Mohammed Abbas, secretary of eSeva Contract Employees Association (ESCEA). “While other contractors settled to go ahead with the new agreement, Spanco, the contracting company in Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy districts, is insisting upon hike in service charges from different departments as a pre-condition to implement the new pay-scale,” he said.

Pressure tactic

The company does not want to pay minimum wages to its employees and hence, is applying pressure on the government towards the withdrawal of the agreement, he alleged.

The ESCEA submitted memoranda not only to the IT and Labour departments seeking settlement of the issue, but also to the Election Commission as mistakes in electoral rolls and photo identity cards have to be rectified at eSeva centres.

Charge against official

Despite loss of revenue to the government to the tune of Rs. 5 crore a day, Commissioner of eSeva Suresh Chanda is showing little interest to resolve the issue, complained Mr. Abbas. Neither the officials of Spanco, nor the IT Commissioner were available for comment.