Correspondent

BHUBANESWAR: As announced earlier, the employees of the four State-owned Akademis – Orissa Sahitya Akademi, Orissa Lalit Kala Akademi, Orissa Sangeet Natak Akademi and Orissa Urdu Akademi – launched a dharna for an indefinite period in front of the Samskruti Bhawan here on Tuesday.

Rajya Akademi Karmachari Samanwaya Samiti (State Akademis’ employee’s coordination committee) has been spearheading the agitation demanding fulfilment of their three-point charter of demand.

Demands

The demands include provision of pension and insurance for the employees, implementation of service conditions at par with the other State government employees and enhancement of salary upon inclusion of half of the dearness allowance.

“It’s an irony that while the Akademis are celebrating their golden jubilee year, the employees are not getting their legitimate dues and constrained to agitate.

They are the backbone of the Akademis that serve the culture community of the State.

How can they serve well without being cared for by their employer for half a century?” questioned eminent scholar and former secretary of the Orissa Sangeet Natak Akademi who addressed the agitating employees expressing solidarity with them.

Eminent singer Pranab Patnaik, noted sculptor Raghunath Mohapatra, convener of the coordination committee, music composer Laxmikant Palit and leaders of the State government employee’s federation joined the dharna expressing solidarity with the employees.

Panel formed

Meanwhile Culture Minister S.N.Patro discussed the demands with a delegation of the agitating employees during the afternoon and formed a committee with the Commissioner of Culture as the chairperson to examine the demands.