Maharashtra: Two ST workers commit suicide within 12 hours, blame Uddhav Thackeray govt for non-payment of dues, reduced salaries

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ST workers continue to commit suicide as Maharashtra government turns a deaf ear to the financial woes of the state government employees

— Consider reading the article Maharashtra: Two ST workers commit suicide within 12 hours, blame Uddhav Thackeray govt for non-payment of dues, reduced salaries on OpIndia website —

Two employees of Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation(MSRTC or simply ST) have committed suicide within a span of just 12 hours. One of them, in his suicide letter, has blamed the ST corporation and Uddhav Thackeray government for non-payment of dues, reduction in salaries and irregularities as the reason for taking such a drastic decision of giving away his life.

Manoj Chaudhary, a Jalgaon ST bus conductor committed suicide by hanging himself this morning. In his suicide note, he has blamed the ST corporation and Thackeray government for the non-payment and reduction in salary since last several months.

Chaudhary’s bereaved brother claimed that the mounting financial pressure on his brother because of the reduction in his salary by the ST department has pushed him over the edge to commit suicide. “ST department and Thackeray government are responsible for the cutback on the salaries of the employees which triggered my brother to give up his life. From the last three months he was getting a reduced salary,” Manoj Chaudhary’s anguished brother told media.

Earlier yesterday, another ST employee, Pandarang Gadde, from Ratnagiri division had committed suicide. His body was found hanging from the ceiling by his roommate P.A. Tandle, who broke into the room at 4 PM after Gadde did not open the door. It is been alleged that non-payment of salaries from the last 4 months might be the reason behind Gadde committing suicide.

While the Maharashtra government is busy punishing the dissidents who have dared to raise their voices against the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in the state, the concerns of the government employees have fallen on deaf ears, forcing them to embrace suicide. The Uddhav Thackeray government has shown unusual alacrity in punishing Republic TV Editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami by incarcerating him and actor Kangana Ranaut, whose office was demolished by the BMC for her remarks on Mumbai.

However, the same urgency is not displayed in addressing the concerns of the government employees who are suffering from the insurmountable financial crisis because of the Uddhav Thackeray’s misplaced priorities. Earlier in August, an ST employee of the Maharashtra government had committed suicide for over non-payment of salary for over two months. Amol Mali, the ST worker, after being in depression for not receiving his salary for the period of the last two months, had decided to end his life.

Doctors and nurses from other states were deferred payment by Maharashtra government

It is also pertinent to note that not just ST employees and workers but the frontline forces of doctors and nurses battling the coronavirus pandemic were also not paid their dues by the Maharashtra government. In July this year, several doctors and nurses from Kerala, who had come to Mumbai at the Maharashtra state government’s bidding to fight the coronavirus spread in the city, had gone back to their state as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) failed in paying them their salaries.

Maharashtra government sanctions the purchase of luxury vehicles for its ministers

Even as the Maharashtra government struggled to pay the dues of the government employees and medical practitioners, it did not shy away from authorising the purchase of vehicles for its ministers. The approval from the Uddhav Thackeray government came at a time when the Maharashtra Treasury was in a bad shape in the wake of coronavirus induced lockdown in the state. However, disregarding the acute financial crisis suffered by thousands of government employees, whose salaries were either deferred or reduced, Uddhav Thackeray government sanctioned the purchase of 6 new luxury vehicles for their ministers.

Uddhav Thackeray government floats e-tender worth Rs 5 crore on the PR campaign

It is also notable to mention that amidst the coronavirus pandemic that had severely had the state in its grip, the Maha Vikas Aghadi government had floated an e-tender, inviting private advertising agencies to apply for managing the PR of the Chief Minister and the Government of Maharashtra. Notwithstanding the dismal cash position of the government’s treasury, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray was all set to shell out a sum of over Rs 5 crores to promote his Maha Vikas Aghadi government.

According to a government resolution issued by CMO and the Directorate General of Information and Public Relations, the agencies will use audio-visual content, develop creatives and come up with campaigns to promote the government’s image and policies. A major thrust will be on social media.

This entire PR exercise would cost the exchequer a hefty sum of Rs 5,43,60, 240, that is a little short of Rs 5 crore 50 lakhs.

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