Urban Development Minister Ashutosh Tandon handing over the cheque to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. Also seen is Jal Nigam MD Vikas Gothalwal (centre)  | Twitter: @myogioffice
Urban Development Minister Ashutosh Tandon handing over the cheque to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. Also seen is Jal Nigam MD Vikas Gothalwal (centre)  | Twitter: @myogioffice
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Lucknow: On 27 April, the Uttar Pradesh Jal Nigam (water corporation) contributed Rs 1.47 crore to the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund, set up by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath along the lines of the PM CARES fund.  

The demand draft was personally handed over to the chief minister by the corporation’s managing director Vikas Gothalwal and Urban Development Minister Ashutosh Tandon.

The corporation’s top brass said the amount was equal to a day’s salary of its employees for the month of February 2020.

The only hitch: The nigam’s 25,000 employees and pensioners were not paid for February, March and April.     

“No salary has been paid for the last three months (February, March, April). Then how have they deducted money from employees and that too without any prior information,” UP Jal Nigam Employees Federation convenor Ajay Pal Somvanshi told ThePrint.  

“We have no objection to contributing this amount for the Covid fund but our real concern is that when the corporation has not been able to pay salaries, where did it get this money for the Covid Care Fund,” he added. “If the amount has been contributed through deduction of salaries for February, then the remainder of the salary should also have been released for all the staff.” 

No permission was sought before salary 

The employees’ organisations are also claiming that their permission was not sought before their salaries were deducted. 

D.P. Mishra, chief spokesperson of the Jal Nigam Employees Coordination Committee, said no written appeal was made to the employees for donating their salary.

“No one is averse to donating in such a time of grave crisis but the real issue is that the staff and officers should have been asked before taking this step,” Mishra said. “Ironically we are yet to receive the salary, from which this contribution was deducted.”

Jal Nigam MD Vikas Gothalwal, an IAS officer, however, insisted that the deduction was made with the consent of all employees. He told ThePrint that an advisory regarding this was issued to all 10 zonal engineers of the state. “They had conveyed this to their respective zones. Several employee organisations had also agreed to it and only after this, a day’s salary was deducted.” 

Urban Development Minister Ashutosh Tandon told the media that he was informed by the Jal Nigam authorities that the amount was being contributed to the CM Covid Care Fund with the full consent of all employees. 

“Now some objections of the employees are coming to fore and this is reasonable too. The Yogi government is sensitive towards them and their payment will be released soon,” Tandon said. 


Also read: UP’s ‘Agra model’ under scanner as Covid cases rise, govt says it’s due to increased testing


A corporation in trouble 

The employees are suggesting that the water corporation is in financial trouble.

Somvanshi of the UP Jal Nigam Employees Federation told ThePrint that apart from the backlog, employees have not been paid a bonus for nine years now. 

“Dearness Allowance has also been curtailed. All this is not just about the salary backlog. Even in this case, the MD had prepared a demand draft for Covid Care on 16 April and deposited it 11 days later on 27 April,” Somvanshi said. “Who is responsible for loss of Rs 35,000 to 40,000 in interest charged on the amount of this demand draft? Surely the MD and other top officials are accountable for that. Who is going to compensate for this?” 

He added that top officials were harming the employees’ interests to please the government. 

Gothalwal, however, told ThePrint that he has also personally contributed to the Covid Fund through the IAS Association. He added that Nigam has had salary backlog issues even before he took over last year.   

“Backlog of 1-2 months is going on for the last one year. Very soon the salaries for remaining months will also be cleared,” he said. “The Jal Nigam’s financial loss is also an important factor in this delay in salary payment. The employees also get a centage (a kind of commission) for their work. But this has been affected in the last month-and-a-half due to the lockdown.” 

The UP Jal Nigam has about 12,400 employees and 12,600 pensioners. 


Also read: First rain and hail, now lockdown — mango farmers set to lose 70-80% of their income


 

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Lovely set up. Use other people’s money to curry political favours. The people cannot compain. Of course Rs.1.5 crores may not be enough to pay all salaries

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