By Edrich Miranda
Over six hundred employees face the slough of a mighty Central Government at Silvassa, Dadra & Nagar Havali.
The workers in question, who are employed by the Irrigation, Road Works and Building departments respectively, the local Municipality and certain schools, all of which are governed by the Central Government, as the area is a Union Territory.
According to Bhika l Khulat, a local union leader and social activist, employers share of Provident fund of a number of workmen has not been deducted, for the past twenty two years, ever since the employees were made permanent, due to the good offices of Ganesh Naik, then Maharashtra’s labor minister, who technically and legally had no locus standi; but just a letter from Niak’s office prompted the then administrator Satya Gopal to absorbed the workers as permanent employees, six of the fifty three employees, attached to the Public Works Department have since retired, but failed to get their provident fund, gratuity and other service and retirement benefits; which are allegedly being held back by respective heads of departments.
Advocate D. Naik who specializes in labor laws and labor welfare, when contacted, expressed awe about the pending service and retirement benefits. Over a hundred other such employee’s similarly affected approached this reporter, urging the newspaper to take up their cause with some member of Parliament, speaking to Nathubhai (M.P.) from Silvassa, A.D & C. learnt, he has spoken and also written to the development commissioner, but to no effect. Surprising that fifty three aggrieved are from government organizations; and yes over five hundred employees of schools run by Catholic priest, allege they have been paid salaries below the Minimum Wages Act; besides being deprived of service and retirement benefits. G.S. Rajawat (I.A.S.) the Collector of Dadra & Nagar Haveli, who is also holding labor portfolio, was kind enough to direct the labor officer, J. S. Patel to expeditiously resolve the imbroglio but Patel’s office could not find the file as the same was allegedly hidden by Jackson a clerk. Efforts are on to channel the grievance of the employees through Reddy (M.P.) President of I.N.T.U.C. and Dina Patil, Ex-M.P. from Mulund Mumbai, through the I.L.O. (International labor Organization). Nathubai Patel (M.P.) claimed to have spoken and written to concerned labor department; but when this reporter personally called at Natubhai Patel, local M.P’s office, his P.A. could not provide any written communication.