MEN WHO SAVE ANIMALS ARE NOT SAFE IN ORISSA

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Peoples of Orissa, who love the forests, specifically the tribals are in danger because of Chief Minister Navin Patnaik’s blind ally with mine-grabbers and looters of natural resources. When they protest, the government unleashes state terror on them such as the pogrom executed on tribals at Kalinga Nagar on January 2, 2006.

Now it transpires, the peoples who save the animals by feeding them and by attending the vivariums at the risk of their lives in the famous zoological garden at Nandankanan, modern Bhubaneswar’s icon of pride, are in danger under constant exploitation perpetrated by Navin’s Government. As many as 131 of the zoo attendants, though in government service since 15 to 20 years are brutally underpaid and even though the recommendations of the sixth pay commission are implemented for all government employees, they are debarred from their legitimate scale of pay, as they are not yet regularized. They are in strike in protest against this unfair labor practice after all their representations and appeals to the Chief minister have fetched no result.

Nandankanan zoo is not a temporary organization. It is a permanent zoo. And the attendants are doing permanent job. They are highly skilled handlers of animals and birds and reptiles. Every day they attend office and carry out orders and do their best to serve the inmates of the zoo. It is regular work they do. And, they have been doing it for so many years. But they are on daily wage basis, which is much less than the minimum wages fixed under the Minimum Wages Act.

When the work is of regular nature and the zoo attendants are rendering service everyday from 7 in the morning to 6 in the evening, which exceeds the prescribed hours of work, why are they not regularized? The government has no answer.

Such inhuman treatment to human beings who risk their lives to serve the animals is indicative of how nasty has become Orissa administration.

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