Mrunal Manmay Dash

Even after 38 years of job, employees of the famous braille press in Odisha’s Berhampur are languishing in neglect as the government is yet to regularise their jobs.

Established in 1986, the press printed books for only 40-50 people in the beginning. The number of books has reached 5000 now. However, despite increased work pressure, the employees are reportedly getting a paltry Rs 10,000 – 12,000 as their salary.

“I have been with this press since its inception in 1986. We were getting Rs 600 during that time. Though the salary has increased, but it is not in proportion to the inflation over the years. That is because our jobs have not regularised yet,” lamented an employee, Debendra Mohanty.

Another employee, Chitrasen Behera said, “I am getting a salary of Rs 10,000 per month. It has become so much difficult for me to manage my family with this salary. Though the minister had assured us to make our jobs regular, nothing has happened yet.”

The government has modernised the press building with state of the art machinery to print more and more books. But the employees seemed to have been left in the lurch.

Recently, Minister of Social Security and Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (SSEPD), Ashok Panda had visited the press. He had assured the employees to make their jobs regular, but in vain.

“This press has all the modern infrastructure and machinery to print books. But the employees are not getting their remuneration as per their work. We have a shortage of staff here. That is why we are forced to bear the excess burden of work,” said Machine Operator, Akash Kumar Sahu.

The only Braille press in the state in silk city was modernised with the installation of another computerised embosser, construction of a new building and renovation of the old building at an investment of around Rs 2.5 crore in 2019.

The new Braille press, which costs over Rs 1 crore, has the capacity to print 2,000 pages per hour.

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