Govt employees threaten strike

Kathmandu, August 12:

Trade Unions in government offices have warned the government of staging a general strike if the security for the government employees was not guaranteed as the government employees remain target of various Terai-based political and armed outfits.

The Nepal Government Employees’ Organisation (NEGEO), one of the four major unions, which has its chapters in all government offices, today said it would come up with strong programmes, if the government remained indifferent to their demands.

A dozen of government employees were killed from May 2007 till January 2008, the union activists said. They further said incidents of abduction, extortion and threats were beyond calculation in the Tarai.

“We have been asking the government to ensure security for the civil servants. But the government is yet to bring into action what it had promised. The government will be held responsible if we were left with no other options but to call a nation-wide strike,” Ganesh Basyal, chairman of NEGEO, said.

Punya Prasad Dhakal, general secretary of the NEGEO, said, “There is no environment for the government employees to go to the field for work. Mainly staffers from hilly areas are asked for donation, are abducted and even murdered if the demands of such groups are not fulfilled.”

Joint secretary at the Ministry of Home Affairs, Bishwa Prakash Pandit, admitted that the government had not been able to provide security to the government staffers who have been working under pressure from different Tarai-based groups.

“The Ministry is sensitive about the situation in some Tarai districts and we are committed to support them. But due to some security lapses, we have not been able to control the unwanted elements in the Tarai,” he said.

Joint secretary at Ministry of General Administration, Lava Raj Shrestha, said the trade unions also needed to cooperate with the government in coping with the insurgency in the Tarai.

Chief Secretary Bhoj Raj Ghimire urged all stakeholders to prepare a strategic plan to cope with the worsening situation in the Tarai and to provide the best possible security to the government employees.

“We can categorise the districts and make a policy at least to keep the district headquarters under security rings, if providing security for the whole nation for the time being is not possible,” he said.