Braving ESMA, govt employees in Telangana brace for stir

The decision to go ahead with the strike was taken by the employees despite the state government invoking Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) in all the key departments. The Students JAC has so far postponed their agitation twice in the hope that the Union government will take a decision to scrap Clause 14 (f) that allows aspirants from all the districts for recruitment in the capital region, i.e. Hyderabad.

On the other hand, a face-off appears inevitable with the Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC) comprising employees, officers, teachers and workers and other unions deciding to boycott talks till the withdrawal of ESMA and police forces.  They gave a notice to government on issues related to service maters, but the demand is for a separate state.

The employees would commence ‘work to rule’ from Monday, which means they would not work beyond the stipulated office hours. They would also undertake lunch-hour demonstrations in the office premises.

Acting Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy decided to invoke ESMA in departments of civil supplies, rural water supply and panchayat raj, and ‘no work no pay' rule to tackle the strike. In several other departments including health, municipal administration,  Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corp and electricity ESMA notifications banning strike for six months have been imposed.

Officials said the government is making all efforts to avoid a February-March like situation, when the 16-day non-cooperation movement by nearly 300,000 employees had hit the administration.

The chief minister directed top officials to ensure that the strike has no impact in the secretariat and key offices in Hyderabad.

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