GVK EMRI employees to stage hunger strike from Tuesday, district administration asked to take action as per ESMA

Shillong, Oct 28: Employees of the GVK EMRI have announced an indefinite hunger strike from Tuesday against the non-fulfillment of the 36-point charter of demands.

The employees under the banner of the Meghalaya Emergency Management and Research Institute Workers’ Union (MEMRIWU) will stage hunger strike in the premises of the GVK EMRI office, Lawmali.

This was announced by President of the Union, Roypar Kharraswai while speaking to reporters on Monday.

Last week, Health Minister, A L Hek had announced the decision of the state government to issue a pre-termination notice to the GVK EMRI to end the ongoing stalemate and resume the emergency services, failing which, the contract between the state government and the GVK EMRI would be terminated.

Hek said that if the GVK EMRI failed, the state government has to float a new tender to pave way for a capable company to take over and ensure that it runs the emergency services smoothly for the interest of the people of the state.

The employees of the GVK EMRI have been staging their indefinite strike for the past one month since September 30. The agitation has affected the delivery of emergency services to the people in need especially patients who require immediate medical attention, expecting mothers and others.

Earlier the employees had given two months time to the government and the GVK EMRI to address the grievances but the state government said that it is the GVK EMRI that should resolve the problem with its employees.

Kharraswai said that the government’s decision to issue pre-termination notice by giving 60 days to the GVK EMRI to find solution and resume the emergency services would affect the aggrieved workers more.

“This decision of the government will affect us because we have already been facing the problem of salary cuts,” he said.

The employees of GVK EMRI have been demanding from the state government to consider creating its own emergency cell instead of outsourcing the services to the company.

“If the contract with the GVK EMRI is terminated, we oppose any decision to hand over the emergency services to a new company because the same problem will crop up,” Kharraswai said.

He said that it has happened in Uttarakhand where the state government had terminated the services of the GVK EMRI. “After engaging another company, the salary of employees was reduced to Rs 10,000 from Rs 15,000,” he said.

Hek had earlier made it clear that if the contract with the GVK EMRI is terminated, the government has nothing to do with the agitating staff as they were engaged by the company that signed the contract with the government.

Rejecting this, Kharraswai said, “We cannot accept such a stand of the government, and the government cannot use and throw us after giving our best service to the people of the state.”

Kharraswai also said that the employees would fight against the “slavery policy” of the GVK EMRI.

Some of the demands of the employees include enhancement of salary and man power, besides providing new ambulances.

Meanwhile, the state government has directed the district administration of East Khasi Hills to take action as per the Meghalaya Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) as the employees of GVK EMRI continued with their protest.

The Health Minister reiterated that the employees are not directly recruited by the state government but by the company.

Hek said that the deputy commissioner and the superintendent of police have been asked to fully implement the ESMA because the disruption of emergency services has affected the people across the state for the past one month.

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