GMC Union Stage Protest Demanding Regularization of Jobs in Guwahati

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GMC Union Stage Protest Demanding Regularization of Jobs in Guwahati

Nehal Jain | November 16, 2019 15:05 hrs

GUWAHATI: The Guwahati Municipal Karmi Sangha (GMKS) has started a series of protests in support of the demand to regularize the jobs of 939 contractual daily wage labourers of GMC and to clear all pension-related issues.

“The GMC was supposed to regularize the jobs of daily wage labourers starting from January 2014. However, they have been delaying the process,” a member of the GMKS informed G Plus.

Over 1,000 employees of the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) including technical staff, water supply workers and sanitation workers took part in the protest that was staged in front of the GMC office in Pan Bazar on Friday, November 15.

As part of the protests, the Sangha will stage a two-hour sit-in-demonstration on November 16 as well. 

The Sangha has announced the protest program as the higher authorities of the GMC did not respond to their demands even after repeated requests. On November 1, the Sangha approached the GMC Commissioner Debeswar Malakar with their demands for the last time and demanded that action be taken within 14 days, but did not get any proper answer till date.

The Sangha has demanded promotion of every employee of the GMC as per seniority and eligibility by clearing all loopholes of existing staffing pattern of the Corporation. It has also opposed the outsourcing of manpower and demanded that the state government hold the GMC election at the earliest.

Further, it has demanded that the retired personnel be given pension benefits that they have been wrongly deprived off. 

“We are prepared to take further actions if the authorities do not respond to the peaceful demonstrations,” warned Chandan Sarma, General Secretary, Guwahati Municipal Karmi Sangha (GMKS) while speaking to G Plus.

Reacting to the proposed protest program, GMC Commissioner Debeswar Malakar was reported as saying that all the demands raised by the Sangha are under consideration of the state government.

However, members of the GMKS have now asked for the transfer/removal of Malakar from the post of GMC Commissioner based on his reaction.

“If the state government has to make all the decisions, there is no point of having a commissioner in place,” said a leader of the union. 

Amidst these protests, there have been talks of the transfer of Malakar in December 2019, prior to his retirement in March 2020. 

“Although there’s no official notification yet, Debeswar Malakar’s tenure as the GMC Commissioner is certain to end really soon,” internal sources at the GMC said, speaking to G Plus in the condition of anonymity.


GMC ward elections remain uncertain

Even after the term of the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) council ended more than a year ago, there still seems to be a lot of uncertainty about the next date of elections and many are calculating that it might be a political motive to delay the elections.
 
A former BJP councillor talking to G Plus on the condition of anonymity said, “In the area sabha and ward level, many workers are eyeing BJP tickets. If one gets the ticket, another aspirant will be unhappy; therefore there might be a strategy by the political leaders to delay the elections so that it doesn’t affect the 2021 Assembly elections vote banks.”

The councilor also said that this time there are many criteria like a councilor post aspirant can’t have more than two children, graduation must be the minimum qualification and many more such rules, which will upset many old party workers creating a chaos.  
 
It should be noted that the commissioner of GMC, Debeswar Malakar, was also unsure of the probable date of elections. He informed G Plus that the elections do not look likely to take place within the next two months. 

For the overall development of the city, the urban local body requires to be guided by representatives of the citizens.

However, due to the absence of a ward council, several places in the city are suffering from garbage and sanitation issues. 

Some of these areas include Ulubari Volvo point which is consistently littered and a pungent smell emanates from the area which is home to a number of restaurants, hotels and guest houses which are mostly occupied by national and international tourists. Residents claim that the area has acquired a permanent stink because of the dustbins which are always full of garbage. 
 
KC Patowary Lane of Manipuri Rajbari is another locality which lies in a poor state. Residents complain that nearly two years ago, the entire area of KC Patowary Lane was broken down in order to replace the pipes for supply water passage. Since then, there hasn't been any initiative regarding the reconstruction of the roads.

Residents of various localities have also complained of the irregularity in garbage collection – while some said that the NGO workers visit their locality once in three days, others said they visit once a week or sometimes even later than that.

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