Vol. XLII No. 32 August 12, 2018

Meanwhile in Tripura

Rahul Sinha


IN the changed Tripura, if one is a government employee and has attained the age of 50 or 55 years or completed 30 years of service, then the threat of voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) looms large on such category of government employees. The continuation of the services will depend upon periodical reviews of one’s fitness, service records etc. If the review finds the employee unfit, he/she would be shown the door. Not merely on grounds of physical fitness, one can even face the same fate, if at any point of time, there was any allegation against him/her regarding his/her honesty and integrity. In this case no evidence is required; even the departmental proceedings to prove the charge is not required. Mere suspicion shall suffice to force a premature retirement on the employee. 

These draconian provisions existed all these years in the central civil services rules. But in the last 25 years, the Left Front government had never, even for a single occasion, used these rules against any employee. But, with the BJP assuming office, the draconian measures are back. While the much hyped promise of implementing the benefits of the Seventh Pay Commission recommendations is still to be fulfilled, a number of anti- employee moves are already in place. The government has abolished pension for the employees and replaced it with new pension scheme (NPS). Medical reimbursement facilities introduced for non gazetted employees have been cancelled. Now the guarantee of service is at stake.


The tall promises of the vision document released by the BJP before the assembly election included an assurance to regularise all the contractual workers. The reality however is quite different. On August 1, the department of finance in an order, decided not to regularise the persons engaged in Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA), Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) or other scheme workers. In line with the rules framed during the LF government, the order however regularised the daily rated workers (DRWS) and casual workers who have completed 10 years of continuous service. But at the same time, the order declared that henceforth no such employment shall take place. If necessary, these jobs shall be outsourced. 

Naturally there is a sense of anger and disappointment among the SSA teachers, anganwadi workers and other scheme workers. There has not been a single advertisement for government jobs in the last five months. But the jobs for which the recruitment process had started during the tenure of the last LF government have been cancelled.  Recruitment process for around 9,200 posts in different departments had been started by the last government and in some of them all the steps were completed and the candidates were waiting for the orders to reach them. But the state cabinet on August 3 has decided to cancel the entire recruitment process and didn't clarify when the posts shall be filled up.


Tripura is heading towards a major agrarian crisis, observed the Left peasant organisations. In a press conference of the AIKS, GMP, Tripura Khet Majoor Union and other Left kisan organisations, AIKS state secretary Narayan Kar said the plight of the farmers is alarming. In the year 2016-17 the insurance companies had collected around Rs 74.41 lakhs as premium. In the months of May and June, the state witnessed worst floods since last many years. Around 48,000 families were affected. But till date the government has not declared a single farthing as compensation. Despite the fact that the private insurance companies had collected such a huge sum as premium, the farmers have not received any compensation from them.

The callous attitude of the government is responsible for the plight of the peasantry, alleged Narayan Kar. He said the prices of paddy, rubber are falling steadily. The allocation for SRI (System of Rice Intensification) has been reduced from Rs 45.45 crores to mere Rs 11. 50 crores, affecting the procurement and supply of fertilizers. While the wages of MNREGA have not increased to Rs 340 as promised and an average of 2-7 days of works (in a month) have been given in the last five months, in some places workers are getting a wage of only Rs 24. The enhanced MSP is far less than what was recommended by Swaminathan Commission, but even at that rate there is no government initiative to procure the produce of the farmers.  Doing the rounds is news that the fertilizer subsidy introduced by the Left Front government might be done away with. This, if true, shall lead to a catastrophe and major agrarian crisis in the state, he apprehended.  


Post poll violence that started from the night of March 3, continues unabated even as the government is just two days away from completing its fifth month in office. Even the members of the legislative assembly are not safe. A delegation of Left Front MLAs led by deputy leader of opposition Badal Choudhury met the DGP on August 1, demanding adequate security of the opposition MLAs and an atmosphere where they can travel without apprehension of attacks. A delegation from Daily Desher Katha met the DGP on August 3, demanding action against those involved in attacks on the reporters of the paper and ensuring free, unhindered distribution and circulation of the paper. But the situation has not at all improved, rather the attacks are increasing. During the visit of the national fact finding team comprising of MPs, peasant leaders and members of civil society movement, the CPI(M) offices at Khowai and Bishsalgarh were attacked and vandalised. On August 6, the BJP goons attacked the houses of CPI(M) activists including Dulal Datta, former vice chairman of Khowai Municipal Council,  SFI Khowai sub division secretary Pranab Dhar and three more. On August 6, death threats were issued to former MLA and CPI(M) state committee member Lalit Tripura in the Gandachharra market. 

The pitiable condition of law and order in the state is evident from the figures of police itself. The figures of March to June show that 45 murders have taken place in the period i.e., a murder in every 64 hours. Cases of theft and burglary are 237, 74 kidnapping cases were registered. This shows the deteriorated situation of law and order of a state, where the chief minister in-charge of home department feels a wave of happiness is flowing.