Ranganathittu staff urge for weekly holiday

Ranganathittu staff urge for weekly holiday

PCP employees demand regularisation of services

Ranganathittu staff urge for weekly holiday

With the increase in footfall at Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary and subsequent growth in revenue, several developmental activities are being taken up here.

Works such as construction of barricades, embankments and facilities for tourists, the Salim Ali Interpretation Centre and others are aimed at wooing more tourists to the ecological haven.

However, lower cadre employees of the Sanctuary, are bogged down by many issues such as the difficulties in getting leaves, and the measly pay they draw as they were hired under Petty Cash Payment (PCP) basis.

Since the Sanctuary is open round the year, there are not even weekly offs, they complain. To raise these issues among the authorities concerned, a memorandum was submitted to the Forest department recently.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Range Forest Officer of the Sanctuary, M Shivappa said that there has been a long standing demand of employees that the State Government declare holiday for one day every week for the Sanctuary, along the lines of Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens in Mysuru.

While this is the primary demand of all employees, lower cadre employees who have been hired PCP basis, have demanded that their services be regularised, as they have served at the Sanctuary for more than a decade.

Shivappa said that 19 employees at the Sanctuary have been seeking regularisation of their services. Of the 19, 12 are boatmen, who also serve as guides to the tourists. The number of permanent employees at the Sanctuary was seven, of which two are set to retire in the next two to three months, he added.

Deputy Conservator of Forests, V Karikalan said that the demands would be forwarded to authorities concerned, as “a policy decision by the State government was required to fulfill their demands.”

He added that the Government had recently increased benefits for PCP employees who had completed ten years of service between 96 and 2006. Some of the employees at the Sanctuary will be benefitted from these measures.

Developmental activities
Despite the dispute regarding the acquisition of seven acres and 10 gunta land for expansion of the Sanctuary, works are in full swing. While parts of the acquired land (3 acre 10 guntas) has been developed into a wood lot, the rest is being converted into a park.

A suit was filed by the farmers of Palahalli and Karimanti village at Srirangapatna Court, demanding more compensation for the acquired land. According to Shivappa, farmers were compensated at the cost of Rs eight lakh per acre during acquisition, as per the price fixed by the Government. After the acquisition, farmers have started demanding Rs 50 lakh, he said.

The Forest department however, now legally owns the land, as both RTC and mutation has been completed.