Jail warders in State to continue indefnite hunger strike

Staff Reporter

BERHAMPUR: Demanding parity in pay scale with the police constables the jail warders of Orissa have launched indefinite hunger strike in front of their respective jails.

As per the All Orissa Jail Employees’ Association (AOJEA) the talks between their leaders and the chief secretary of Orissa failed on Tuesday. General secretary of the AOJEA Shyama Prasad Mishra said they had decided to continue their agitation which entered third day on Tuesday. Reports of warders on hunger strike being shifted to hospitals has started to creep in from Balasore, Keonjhar and Choudwar jails.

Speaking to The Hindu, Mr Mishra said around 1,400 warders of the state are on hunger strike at 72 jails of the State. But the warders are not neglecting their duty. They are attending to their duty as per the roster. They are taking part in the agitation after the completion of their duty hours. The hunger strike also continued in front of the Berhampur circle jail.

The warders have been demanding parity of their pay scale and perks on par with police constables for quite some time. They alleged that the State government did not look into their demand even during the implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations. Having no other way left the warders, head warders and chief head warders had to resort to the path of agitation, Mr Mishra said.

The warders alleged that till 1974 the pay-scale of police and jail staff was at par. But after pay revisions the police cadre got more than the jail staff and the latter could never catch up. In 1979 the Orissa Jails Reform Committee constituted under the chairmanship of Justice Harihar Mohapatra had recommended parity in the pay-scale of constables and jail warders in the State.

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