Salary eludes Urdu Academy staff

Hyderabad: Even as the State government gears up to celebrate Ramzan festivities by hosting an extravagant Iftar party on the Nizam College grounds on June 26, contract employees of the computer-cum-library centres under Urdu Academy have not been getting salaries for more than three months.

Unable to buy new clothes for their families for festival, they are now getting ready to stand in the queue to receive the Ramzan gifts being offered by the State government. About 200 contract employees working in 43 computer-cum-library centres, being run under the Telangana State Minority Welfare Department, are not paid salaries since February this year.

(In between they were paid salaries for only one month in May) Despite several representations to the State government, the officials continue to turn a blind to the plight of the employees. Leave alone regularisation of their services, the Telangana State Minority Finance Corporation (TSMFC) has not been able to address the issue of payment of salaries to the staff since February.

During the last couple of months, the contract employees were pushed to the brink as most of them took hand loans from their friends and now find themselves embarrassing situation whenever a lender turns up at their doorstep. Most of the contract employees, who were engaged in services like enrolment of minority residentialeludes schools, were promised by officials that the issue would be resolved on a priority. But all hopes of celebrating Ramzan on a par with others has started to fade away as nothing concrete has been done, and promises remained unfulfilled.

“Most of us live in rented houses and we are unable to pay rent and school fees for children. We thought of celebrating Ramzan like others, but the situation is quite disheartening as we will be ending up standing in the same queue wherein our services were used last year to distribute clothes to the poor during Ramzan,” said Md Ghouse, office sub-auditor, Jahanuma Centre.

After holding a sit-in in support of their demands on May 30, the employees met MP K Kavitha and MLC Syed Altaf Hyder Razvi on June 18, besides representing the issue to higher officials concerned. The officials had promised to address the issue by June 20, but when they made a representation, the date was deferred to June 23. Earlier, they made several representations to Deputy Chief Minister Md Mahmood Ali and even met Finance Minister Eatala Rajender.

“We were being told that the file is with the Chief Secretary and the issue will be resolved soon,” said Afshan Abrar, vice president of Telangana State Urdu Academy Computer-cum-Libraries Employees Welfare Association.

Started in 1999, under Deepam Package, most of the computer centres have been established in rented buildings. The State government had beem releasing funds for maintenance of computer centres and also to pay salaries. The Academy had been paying Rs 8,000 each to two faculty members and Rs 5,000 each to their subordinates.

According to officials, there was fund crunch as the Minority Welfare Department could succeed in getting budget only of the first two quarters of 2015-16. Most of the departments have been facing a similar situation. “The bills have been submitted and salaries will be provided from the planned budget shortly,” said a higher official of the Minorities Welfare Department.