With meagre pay, staff of Odisha’s only Braille press struggle to manage livelihood

Berhampur: It seems that the state government has turned a blind eye towards the ‘underpaid’ staff of the only Braille press in Odisha in Berhampur as they are in immense distress and struggling hard to manage livelihood.

As per reports, six workers have been employed in the Braille press since the day it was established in 1986 by the Social Security and Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (SSEPD) department. While they have complained of a very low salary, another major concern is they are yet to be recognised as regular government employees.

The manager of the press reportedly gets a pay of Rs 5,286 per month while other workers are being paid even less than that.

Being the only Braille press in the State, the work pressure has considerably increased with the rising inflation, but the consolidated pay under the grant-in-aid has made the lives of these employees miserable.

The employees have demanded regularisation of their jobs and payment under proper pay scale of the government.

“Even after working for 32 years, our jobs are yet to be regularised and there are no service rules for us. The government is giving us salary ranging from Rs 5000- 6,000 as a grant. It has become really difficult to maintain livelihood with such a meagre amount,” said Manager of Berhampur Braille Press, Prakash Rath.

Meanwhile, the district collector through a letter to the State Government has also requested to regularise the jobs of the employees engaged in the press.

“They had apprised me about the matter some five-six years back and I too raised the question in the Assembly. The staff are working in the press on a contract basis and grappling with financial instability. The issue has been taken seriously and we will try to talk to the concerned authorities to increase their salary,” said Berhampur MLA Ramesh Chandra Chyau Patnaik.

SSEPD Minister Prafulla Samal, on the other hand, informed that the concerned authorities have been directed for renovation, restructuring and remodelling of the press so that all the issues of the press are addressed appropriately.