Daily wagers working with government’s Public Health Engineering (PHE) department at Handwara, in Kupwara district, stage a protest demonstration at Press Enclave here on Wednesday accusing the department of corruption in engaging 63 new workers, leaving them “jobless”.
Holding banners and raising slogans against the department’s Chief Engineer, the protesters said 58 of them worked with the department for 10 years and it “neglected them now”. They also said the department was not releasing their pending wages.
Nisar Ahmad Peer, who led the protest, said the department released a “new fake list” of 63 workers who are “nowhere on ground”.
“Now we are neglected by the department and blue-eyed persons are being selected to make money,” peer said.
Some of the protesters said they were on “hunger strike” at the department’s office in Srinagar for three days. “We are poor and have no source of income but PHE [department] is not releasing our pending wages and the irony is that it disowns us now.”
“We think we cannot pay heavy bribes to the Chief Engineer [and] that is why he now appointed 63 daily wagers,” the protesters said. “People like him defame Kashmir by corruption.”
The protesters demanded Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s intervention in the matter, asking for an independent probe.
Chief Engineer of the Department, GM Bhat told Rising Kashmir the protesting daily wagers are “innocent [and] are misguided by someone”.
“If my department has done [anything] wrong, they can move to the court and we are not higher than it.”
Bhat said the protesting daily wagers “may have bribed someone earlier” and the person “may have told them that he will employ them in the department in a couple of years”.