Srinagar: The centrally sponsored schemes meant to uplift the existing distribution network for reduction of losses and electrify the un-electrified areas in Kashmir are on the verge of shutting down due to Administrative Department’s failure to release the salaries of outsourced employees hired by Power Development Department in accordance with the Finance Department in 2017.
While authorities admit their fault, no action has so far been taken to release around 6 months pending salaries of well-read outsourced employees.
As per a government order No. 42- PDD of 2016 Dated 04-03-2016, two dedicated project wings were created for Jammu and Kashmir respectively for effective implementation of the flagship centrally sponsored schemes including Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana, Restructured Accelerated Power Development & Reforms Programme, Prime Ministers’ Development Programme, integrated power Development Scheme etc, to achieve “electricity for all by early 2020”.
The Chief Engineer Project Wing Kashmir had floated the tenders for hiring of manpower through outsourcing. After following all the codal procedures including giving wide publicity to the NITs, scrutiny of technical and financial bids, M/s Comptech Info Solutions Private Limited Regal Lane, Bund Srinagar was declared as successful bidder by PDD to provide it with manpower on ‘outsource’ basis: 96 posts for Kashmir.
Accordingly, the formal contract order was signed with it on 24-June-2017.
The government allotted funds for the hired outsourced employees twice: around Rs 8 lacs and Rs 32 Lacs. Since then, the educated outsourced employees, most of whom have a Master’s Degrees, are fighting to make the ends meet.
“One among us comes from Beerwah. It takes her Rs 150 per day if she comes by bus and around Rs 200 if she boards a Sumo vehicle. That is actually not what we are paid on per day basis. We are underpaid. What is more frustrating is the fact that we have not been paid our salaries for the past 6 months,” the employees provided to PDD by M/S Comptech say.
Adding, they ask, “Our families want us to quit this job as it fetches us nothing. What do we do sitting at home?”
They also told Free Press Kashmir (FPK) that they had filed a complaint in the Governor’s grievance cell twice. However, nothing has happened so far.
“Normally, within 15 days, they solve the problem. However, after consuming one month they told us that our issue pertains to PDD and that they had forwarded the complaint to them,” they say adding, “The issue does not pertain to PDD but to Administrative Department that releases the Funds.”
The reason for not releasing the funds, according to the employees is that the then Financial Minister Haseeb Drabu in 2017 had banned outsourcing. The authorities have “confused that outsourcing with this which is purely on Contract basis for a period of 1 year (Based upon performance, can be extended up to 5 years) and the outsourced employees are not on PDD rolls and as such, they have no claim for regularization.”
According to the official documents, a copy of which lies with FPK, the monthly salary of all these outsourced employees amounts to Rs 452782. An allotment of Rs 8.23 Lacs for Kashmir, which was their two-month salary was received by them. Next, around 32 Lakh rupees were sanctioned for them.
“These were the only two times when funds were allotted for us,” the employees maintained. It has been around 6 months since the employees have not received their salaries. Their contract with M/s compact would have ended in June 2018. However, based on their performances, M/s Comptech’s contract was extended for 6 months.
“We met Commissioner Secretary, Director Finance, Advisor to Governor, BB Vyas. He had marked our file but nothing has happened so far,” the employees say.
On condition of anonymity, an engineer from PDD says, “Our office has forwarded their case to the concerned quarters. The Administration needs to take the action now. Else, these schemes won’t be implemented.
“We need subordinate staff. We have a huge task of upliftment of existing network besides to electrify un-electrified villages. If they don’t fix these issues, the schemes will fail. Engineers cannot do it all on their own. I can tell you that we cannot function without them.”
Speaking about the issue, Advisor to Governor Bharat Bhushan Vyas told Free Press Kashmir that “he is working on it.”
“You are talking to a person who knows that the problem exists. I am doing it on a priority basis. It will be done. I assure you that,” says Vyas.