Govt employees seek better pay

KATHMANDU: Miffed by the government decision of not increasing their salary, civil servants continued with their protests inside the Singha Durbar office premises in the Capital Wednesday.

Various civil servants’ organisations affiliated with different political parties have expressed solidarity with the protests saying that the government’s employees’ salary should be increased in proportionate to the price hike.

Finance Minister Surendra Pandey, in his budget speech on Monday, had announced an increment of their allowances only, which prompted the civil servants’ protests.

After the government employees resorted to the protests halting their daily office chores, situation in this apex government administrative bodies have been in chaos for the last two days.

Some of the protesters staged demonstration inside the Singh Durbar, blocking the interior roads with vehicles and chanting anti-government slogans. The daily businesses of the government offices came to a grinding halt. Traffic police had a tough time removing the vehicles placed in the middle of the road by the agitators.

Talking to The Himalayan Times, Mohan Kumar Ghimire, President of Civil Servants Organisation, said that they had given a 7-day ultimatum to the finance minister and government to fulfill their demands. Earlier, they had also submitted a memorandum to the minister Pandey demanding the hike in their salary.

“Before the budget was announced, we were very much optimistic that the government would hike our salary considering the price hike, inflation and other factors,” said Ghimire. “But we were crestfallen after the finance minister did no mention about it in his budget speech.”

He, however, maintained that they were fully aware of not violating the code of conduct while protesting. “We are rather exercising restraint keeping in mind that the we represent the government employees of the centre of bureaucracy.”

Meanwhile, Ministry of Home Affairs today warned that stringent action would be taken against those found protesting inside the Singha Durbar office premises. Issuing a press statement, the ministry said, “As Singha Durbar is also one of the prohibited areas, no one is allowed to stage protest inside.”

The statement also directed the Nepal Police chief to strongly deal with such protesters there.

Meanwhile, Ministry of Finance (MoF) invited the agitating civil service organisations for dialogue tomorrow morning. The finance minister has been claiming to settle the problem through negotiation.

However, Keshav Acharya, Senior Advisor, MoF, today claimed that there was no possibility of revising the present salary structure of civil servants. Speaking at a programme in the Capital, Acharya said, “The government cannot hike the salary whatsoever but we will satisfy them by further increasing the allowances.”