AIDS Control Society employees stage protest

Pondicherry AIDS Control Society employees staging a dharna in front of the head post office. T. Singaravelou   | Photo Credit: T. Singaravelou

The contract staff of the Pondicherry AIDS Control Society staged a dharna in front of the Head Post Office on Monday demanding regularisation of service.

Employees who took part in the dharna led by association office-bearer T.R. Seshachalam pointed out that about 70 staff were working in AIDS Control Society for more than 20 years on a contract basis for very low salary and had contributed to the Union Territory being declared low prevalence both among general population and high risk groups through a sustained campaign of awareness, counselling, voluntary testing and other interventions.

E. Vanidassane, president of the staff association, said that though they have made repeated representations to the Department of Health, no action had been taken so far. This was in spite of a letter of the Director of Finance, Department of AIDS Control, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, dated as far back as in August, 2014, addressed to the UT Health Secretary, that they had no objection if the State intends to regularise the staff working in the State AIDS Control Societies.

The letter had stated that while the National AIDS Control Programme as a centrally-sponsored scheme executing its work through State AIDS Control Societies was co-terminus with plan period, there was no provision for regularisation or continuation of contractual position or any other benefits.

However, in case State Governments intend to regularise the contractual staff, the Department had no objection to the same contingent to the fact that there would be no additional financial liability on the central government, and it would be the State’s responsibility in case of dissolution of concerned State AIDS Control Societies.

The contract staff said even though they worked with utmost risk while caring for patients with HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B and C, they were denied patient care allowance.

The staff propose to continue with their dharna unless their grievance is addressed.

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Printable version | Jan 15, 2021 11:49:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/aids-control-society-employees-stage-protest/article31026476.ece

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