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Trauma of 25 yr long wait for 41 day govt job

Last Updated : 19 November 2018, 09:27 IST
Last Updated : 19 November 2018, 09:27 IST

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He had received an appointment letter from the West Bengal government over  25 years ago; but had to fight court battles and bureaucratic sloth to finally join service a quarter century later. And having worked for 41 days, he had to retire and is presently running from pillar to post for his pension!

Sounds incredible? Or a theme for a soap opera? It is neither reel nor soap, but real stuff. Meet Md Abdur Rauf ,63, whose fight against fate has been turning murky day by day all these years.

Yet, this half-fed, half-clad fighter has not been short of ammunition so far.  If the quirk of fate and bureaucratic red tape proved his nemesis and meticulously ruined his life, Rauf's is one in a billion case or so whose tale of struggle is certain to leave one gaping in wonder and suppressed rage.

Interview
Having passed  his BSc in 1972 from a city college, Abdur had appeared for an  interview in the West Bengal  Food & Civil Supplies (F&CS) Department and got his appointment letter on May 28,1982 as an assistant sampler. He was duly asked to join after submission of police verification and medical reports. And the wheel of fate started rolling right thereafter.

 ‘‘I was having a family dispute with my elder brother at home. When the police came for verification, my brother sent them out. Later, despite my repeated pleas to the police, no report was sent to the F&CS Department to enable me join duty,’’ Rauf recalled.
  Thereafter within a few months, his elder brother registered a complaint against him on the basis of which the police lodged a ‘false’ case against him in court. Rauf was curtly told by the F&CS Department Secretariat that he would be allowed to join only when he was rid of all charges. Abdur, a resident of Park Circus in South Kolkata, was awe-struck. Queries with friends and well-wishers were of no avail and he had to take the initiative to initiate his maiden battle against officialdom in court. 

 The wheel of justice that moved at a mythically tardy pace, took over two decades to enable him come clean of all charges. Prodded by the court, the police gave him a clean chit.  How did he manage to keep his body and soul together all these years?  ‘‘I have a couple of tenants at home which provided around Rupees one thousand per month. And I used to give tuitions and managed with these combined earnings. But there was just no question of any marriage as I did not have the financial ability to support a wife,’’ was his candid confession.

 However, his nightmare is yet to end as his appeal for the old job failed to cut ice with the F&CS Department officials. Who would bother looking for 20 year-old files in a set-up where bribes decide and determine everything? Rauf had perforce to move the court again. Finally, in 2007, the F&CS Department yielded and dispatched the appointment letter, thanks to the intervention of the Assembly Speaker Hasim A Halim.
  ‘‘When I got the letter, I could not believe, because only 41 days were left for retirement,’’ he said. For the first 11 days, he was given Rs 2,867 and Rs 7,869 for the rest of the period.

However his misery again got a fresh lease of life as hopes to fall back on a government pension faded soon. When approached for pension, he was told that 41 days were too short a period for entitlement to a government pension. A dejected Rauf then approached the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) which, after hearing the case, ruled that the plaintiff was eligible for a minimum amount of pension since he had served the government for some period, however brief.

I’ll fight till death
But the F&CS Department declined to heed the SAT advice; a desperate Rauf then moved the State Minorities Commission which accepted his petition. According to the Commission’s vice chairman Kalyan Choudhury, the Secretary Food has been asked to submit the Department’s views in writing on February 8 next.  
With the prospect of starvation staring menacingly, a lonely Rauf is anxious and awaits the outcome of the hearing at the Commission. ‘‘I’ll fight till death" is his last
resolve.

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Published 06 February 2010, 16:44 IST

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