Valley News Desk

Jahangeer Ganaie

Srinagar, Sep 15 (KNO): The employees of the fisheries department on Tuesday appealed to the government to fulfill their long pending demands including pay disparity, two and a half day salary, technical grade and assured career progression.

President of fisheries employees association, Athar Muzzafar told the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) that the government is playing dillydallying tactics over fulfilling their demands.

He said that the department of fisheries and the department of forests Wildlife were functioning as a single organization under the name of Games and Fish Preservation Department and the Department of fisheries.

“The employees enjoyed similar remunerations/recruitment rules and were transferred between any of the aforementioned departments. However, after 1978, the Department was bifurcated into two separate departments of Forest/wildlife and Department of fisheries. The Pay Commission recommended the revised pay scales for different posts in the government in 1981 and the pay scale of Fisheries Guard, Field Supervisor etc was reduced unjustifiably. This discrepancy was then ignored in subsequent Grade revisions. The employees have been highlighting the issue from past three decades, however, the successive dispensations have been dilly dallying the issue, which added to the miseries of impoverished employees of the department,” he said.

He added that the employees of the Fisheries department perform their duties in fish farms, Hatcheries, Feed Mills, Aquaria Reservoirs and lakes etc, where they have to deal with livestock management round the clock.

“Similarly, the staff posted in Rivers, Nallah, Trout beats and other places, has to perform 24 hours duty for conservation and maintenance of livestock. Moreover, they are exposed to extreme weather conditions and various types of risks to their lives. The employees of the Fisheries department do not enjoy any Sunday’ Holidays and even perform duties on festivals as well,” he added.

Muzaffar further stated that the government has classified some services under special dispensation by sanctioning two and a half day salary in favor of employees of certain departments like P.H.E. Hospitality and Protocol, Department of Health Services and Police etc.

“The employees of the fisheries department working round the clock wanted this decision to be replicated in their favor. In this connection a proposal had been forwarded to the office of the honorable principal secretary in 2018. The Whole exercise for the sanction has been completed; however, the employees are awaiting the sanction from the past two years,” he said.

“The department is a technical department and has seen many progressions right from its inception. The officers of the department have all the requisite technical expertise, which have guided its development from the hitherto seed collection from natural resources to large scale hatchery production, besides playing an important role in streamlining the department,” he said.

President of the association further added that due to this technical expertise, precedence has been fixed in the department and the senior most officer becomes the head of the Department. However, the mentioned technicalities do not conform with the pattern of salaries provided to the subordinate staff. The employees exhibiting the technical Know-how of stripping, breeding and other seed production operations, fish feed production and making of pool shelter mechanisms for riverine fishes, are paid the lowest salaries. The benefit of technical know-how remains a constant with a certain cadre and is not circulated to the lowest level, he said.

He further added the employees of the fisheries department have been working at a single post from decades to say the least. “It is very unfortunate that many of our employees are retiring from the posts they have been appointed to. There is no assured career progression particularly in the executive cadre. The service rules are exploitative for the lower executive cadres that reorganization or a promotion in near future seems to be a myth,” he added.

He further added that the department has many cases of out-of-turn promotions and illegal cadre changes. “Such benefits to certain blue-eyed officials have ruined the careers of deserving officials,” he said while appealing Lieutenant Governor to personally look into the matter to fulfill their demands—(KNO)

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