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Official apathy: 32 PHE dailywagers, casual labourers died in the line of duty since 2016

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By Ovais Gull

Srinagar: Even as the regularization of hundreds of Public Health Engineering(PHE) dailywagers and others is at stake from past several years, at least 32 employees serving as cauls labourers and daily wagers have lost their lives from 2016.

According to a document compiled by the Kashmir PHE dailywagers association, 32 dailywagers and casual labourers have lost their lives while performing their duties from 2016-2018.

The document provided by the association reads that eight out of 32 employees have lost their lives while performing their duties in Srinagar district. It further added that two of the employees lost their lives in cross firing while repairing the water supply in Anantnag district in the year 2016.

It added that those who died due to electrocution, cross firing or something else were recruited in between 1994-2015. The association further added that all the deceased daily wagers and causal labourers were serving on meagre Rs 4500 or less.

However, the association president, Sajjad Ahmad Parray told INS that no compensation was given to the families of the deceased since then and no family was recruited by the department anywhere till now.

He said that they approached to the higher authorities several times in the past and demanded that the kith and kin of deceased should be recruited and the liabilities pending should also be released in their favour.

However, he said there seems cold response from the higher ups as nothing has been done in this regard so far.

In one of similar case, the family of Irfan Ahmad Bhat, a PHE daily wager of Fateh Kadal Srinagar who died in the year 2017 said that nothing has been done by the authorities since their beloved died.

“My husband who was working as PHE daily wager died in 2017. I have little children and was expecting support from the government following the death of my husband but all in vein as nothing was done so far,” Irfan’s wife said.

She said that the authorities keeping in view of her family must take some concrete steps so that they could heave a sigh of relief. “Authorities should release all the liabilities and should recruit her as SRO-43 like the permanent employees get the opportunity,” she added.

“The daily wagers and permanent employees perform equivalent work then why is there an indiscrimination with the daily wagers when it comes to the benefits,” she added.

The association later appealed the Governor led administration to ensure the families of those who died while performing their duties must not face hardships and take steps for their well being so that their sufferings would come to an end.

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