School worker’s monthly ‘salary’ will buy her 2 packs of biscuits

Hundreds Of CPWs In Education Department Even Deprived Of Minimum Wages

IRFAN AMIN MALIK
Tral, Publish Date: Oct 19 2017 11:59PM | Updated Date: Oct 19 2017 11:59PM
School worker’s monthly ‘salary’ will buy her 2 packs of biscuits

Naseema, 40, a mother of three, has been working as a Contingent Paid Worker (CPW) in the education department for Rs 25 a month for the past six years.

Naseema had been employed after her husband Abdul Ahad Shah’s death in a road accident as the CPW at a primary school in Shaldraman area of Tral.

“Every day I have to open the school by early morning and close it by evening,” she said.

Her husband had also been a CPW since 1992 at the same school.

“For Rs 25 you get two packets of biscuits. How can I pay school fee of my children? Thank God that Jammu and Kashmir Yateem Trust which helps us to meet our daily needs,” she said.

Her eldest son studies in class 10, daughter in class 5 and her youngest son studies in 2nd standard. 

She said that she cleans classrooms, office, washrooms of the school. 

 “Even this amount is not given regularly but once in a while the authorities pay me a few hundred rupees and tell me not to ask for months together,” she said.

CPW’s like her are also expected to perform night duties in government schools particularly during elections or during political unrest like in 2008, 2010 and 2016. 

Naseema said there are at least 550 CPWs in Pulwama. They all demand that they should be paid the minimum wages under law. Some women CPWs, in the wait for a permanent job, have turned 40 and are still unmarried.

Naseema said she persists with the job in the hope that she will have a regular job one day.

Some CPWs said they have provided their land to the government for the construction of school buildings and were promised permanent jobs and compensation but none was delivered. 

According to sources, state human rights commission on various occasions termed it gross violation of human rights that people are engaged by the state without even paying the minimum wages. In March 2017, the SHRC issued an order to director school education Kashmir and Jammu to submit a report within four weeks about the employees who have been engaged on wages less than the wages prescribed under the Minimum Wages Act, which is Rs 110 per day.

State president Contingency Paid Workers Association Muhammad Yousuf Bhat said the government had promised them that CPWs will be provided 50% of class IV jobs in the education department.

Education minister Mohammad Altaf Bukhari said, “I think it injustice with these employees and their salary should be enhanced. I think they should approach the office of labour commissioner.” 

He however assured to take up the matter with other ministers including Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.

Director school education Kashmir Ghulam Nabi Itoo said that he will leave no stone unturned to help the CPWs. “I am committed to raise their demands before government and I hope they will be provided at the least minimum wages,” he said.