Two days after over 200 contingency workers of the Pakke Tiger Reserve in Arunachal Pradesh went on a strike over non-payment of wages, leaving the tiger reserve unguarded, state Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar on Friday assured that their dues would be cleared at the earliest.
A letter issued by the Chief Secretary to Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) said, “Immediate steps should be taken for the release of all due payment to the contingency staff by today.”
The Chief Secretary further called for an inquiry to be conducted regarding the non-payment of wages and said that written directions should be issued to avoid such incidents in the future.
The tiger reserve is located in Pakke-Kessang district, about 78 km from the state capital. The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) provides the wages of the contingency staff of the tiger reserve periodically through the state government.
On Wednesday, all the 202 contingency workers, along with their eight elephants converged at the administrative office of the tiger reserve, spread over 862 km, to demand their wages for the last six months.
The contingency workers were given their wages from April-November 2020 after the NTCA had sanctioned Rs 6.05 crore for the 2020-2021 financial year and released a part of it.
The workers’ union has been seeking the release of their salaries for the past six months, the regularisation of the Special Tiger Protection Force (STPF), an increase of wage which was last revised in 2018 to Rs 11,000 per month, and a monthly payout of salaries.