PRI peons gherao minister’s house; relent after promise

Bhubaneswar: Members of Odisha Gram Panchayat Employees’ Association today gheraoed Panchayatiraj minister Arun Sahoo’s residence to press their two-point charter of demands.

According to sources, around 6,204 peons working in various panchayatiraj institutions (PRIs) across the State, gheraoed the minister’s residence. They sought the minister’s action on their 2-point demand charter which includes regularisation of the services of Grade 4 employees working in PRIs. They also demanded a monthly salary of Rs 1500, informed sources.

Notably, exactly a year back, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had sanctioned a salary of Rs 1500 per month for these employees. However, the decision has not been implemented yet, alleged the protesting peons. Moreover, the protesting peons also approached their concerned senior officials only to realise that no provisions have been made in the new Panchayatiraj law to give salaries to peons.

The association, however, called off its stir after holding discussions with the ministers who assured that the government will look into the matter. Association sources said that their meeting with the minister was fruitful.

“Discussions are on and their demands are under consideration. I have invited the employees for another round of discussion and assured them of government help” said Arun Sahoo after talking to the agitating peons.