Rourkela, Nov 16 (LocalWire): As many as eighteen families of former Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) employees are on an indefinite hunger strike at Bisra Chowk area of the city since Wednesday, demanding employment to one of their family members on compassionate ground.
According to sources, between Nov 21, 1992 and Dec 31, 1998, sixteen employees died of illness and two others became permanently disabled before retiring from service.
Since then, the families of these eighteen people have been demanding employment to one of their family members on compassionate ground.
These families reportedly had drawn attention to various authorities on the issue. Responding to one of their petitions, the Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC) on Labour had conducted a detailed inquiry into the matter and during 2012-13 had recommended the Ministry of Steel (MoS) to consider their case and provide employment on compassionate ground.
Sources said, the Ministry of Steel, instead of accepting the directive, had made an appeal to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour to re-examine the case, claiming that there has been no such rule existing in Steel Authority of India Ltd. (SAIL) to provide employment to the family members of deceased on compassionate ground.
The PSC on Labour, during 2014-15, had once again rejected the appeal of MoS and directed them to provide employment to these eighteen families, after making necessary amendments in their recruitment policy, since they cannot deny employment on compassionate ground, sources said.
“It’s three years since the PSC on Labour has given its directive. But nothing has been done till now. And we had no option but to resort to indefinite hunger strike till we get what we deserve,” said Tapan Das, General Secretary, of the Widow Association, which represents all eighteen families.
“We are on relay hunger strike since Nov 14 with one person sitting on hunger strike for a day and we are going to continue the process, till our demands are fulfilled,” Das added.
The RSP officials have refused to comment on the issue, stating that it is policy matter and to be dealt by the SAIL headquarters.