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Engineers in Maharashtra to go on pen down strike on Monday

Congress MLA Nitesh Rane talks to deputy engineer Prakash Khedekar while inspecting Mumbai-Goa highway work at Kankavli in Sindhudurg district in Konkan region on Thursday. Mr. Rane’s supporters threw mud on the engineer in his presence while inspecting the work. Photo: Special Arrangement.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Thousands of engineers across the State will go on a ‘pen down’ strike on Monday to protest the attack on a deputy engineer by a group of Congress supporters led by Nitesh Rane, MLA, on the Mumbai-Goa highway earlier this week.

The Maharashtra Abhiyantriki Seva Mahasangh (MASS), an umbrella body of working engineers in the State, has written to Additional Chief Secretary (ACS), Public Works Department (PWD), Manoj Kumar Saunik, informing him of the strike.

Under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, a pen down strike is defined as a “labour action” in which employees do not mark attendance or do any work while dropping their pens. The strike takes place in an office setting as opposed to an industrial setting, according to the law.

A video which went viral on Thursday showed Mr. Rane, MLA from Kankavali, shouting at a PWD deputy engineer Prakash Shedekar while his supporters poured buckets of muck on him. Mr. Rane, who had gone to inspect the progress of the Mumbai-Goa highway, was later arrested along with other supporters. The attack drew widespread criticism even from State cabinet ministers, including PWD minister Chandrakant Patil who promised the union that some action would be taken.

In its letter, the MASS has said that engineers alone cannot be blamed for the poor quality of roads in the State. It is the contractors who carry out sub-standard work, which is intimated to the public representatives who do not take action against the contractor. Secretary of MASS, Ashok Sasane, said, “There is a general increase in attacks and use of foul language against engineers. There is fear amongst the engineers because of the rising attacks by politicians, while they are beating up the engineer for a mistake he has not even committed.”

The MASS has urged the government to look for a wholistic solution and re-establish the trust of engineers in the law and order mechanisms. “There were a lot of other people with the MLA when he beat up our engineer this week. The government must act against all with an iron hand. To ensure the government is focussed on taking action, we are forced to call a pen down strike,” he said adding that engineers from several departments including PWD, Water Resources, Irrigation will participate in the strike on Monday. “Please take note of our strike and ensure it does not happen in future again.”

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Printable version | Mar 1, 2021 11:45:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/engineers-in-maharashtra-to-go-on-pen-down-strike-on-monday/article28307850.ece

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