Report of the correspondent of Mazdoor Ekta Committee
Rural level workers (Jansevaks) of Jharkhand state, under the leadership of Jharkhand Rajya Jansevak Sangh, are staging an indefinite strike in front of the Agriculture Secretariat at Nepal House, Ranchi from July 12, 2023, regarding their demands.
According to reports, 1836 jansevaks were appointed in Jharkhand in 2011-12, entrusted with the responsibility of taking new agricultural research and agricultural techniques to the farmers at the grassroots level in different blocks of different districts. Their pay was fixed on a pay scale 5200-20,200 with grade-pay of Rs 2400/-. In addition, there are also about 600 jansevaks appointed before 2012.
Recently, the grade pay of jansevaks appointed in 2012 has been reduced from 2400 to 2000. The order of reduction in pay was made on 28th April 2023. The reduction in pay scale after 11 years of service is badly affecting the lives of jansevaks. 1400 rural extension workers (jansevaks) continue to be employed .
Provincial General Secretary of Jansevak Sangh Mr. Lokesh Kumar told the Mazdoor Ekta Committee that the basic task of jansevaks is to implement agriculture related schemes on the ground. But the Block Development Officer asks us to do the work of all other departments like Housing Scheme, MNREGA, Statistics, Election, Assistant Nazarat, Assistant Godown Manager and various supervisory posts. This is a conspiracy to convert the jansevaks who belong to technical category into non-technical cadre.
Explaining the reason for their protests, he said that they informed the administration about their 11-point demand and plan for dharna and indefinite strike in future. They worked wearing black badges. They also organised a demonstrations at the district level and a dharna in front of the offices of the Agriculture Minister, Agriculture Director, Governor etc., thus making their demands public. The program of protest charted out by the Jansevak Sangh includes, in addition to the on going day and night state level dharna, announcements of strike, dharna demonstrations in the districts during the strike, and a state level dharna one month later.
Labor organizations and unions of Jharkhand have extended their support to the ongoing struggle against reduction in grade pay and in support of their 11-point demands.
Jharkhand Rajya Jan Sevak Sangh says that the strike will continue till the order to reduce the salary is not cancelled and all the pending demands are resolved through talks.