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Protesting against the Andhra Pradesh new Pay Revision Commission, thousands of government employees of Andhra Pradesh swarmed the roads of Vijayawada city on Thursday, demanding that the government immediately withdraw the orders related to pay revision.

Part of the 'Chalo Vijayawada' rally, the government employees from all the districts across the State reached Vijayawada city, despite the demonstration being denied authorization.

Chief Secretary Sameer Sharma appealed to the agitating employees to withdraw their call for an indefinite strike from February 7. “There are some problems but we are ready for discussions. What will you get out of the strike? Let us sit and resolve the issue," he exhorted the employees. 

Addressing reporters, along with Finance Special Chief Secretary S S Rawat and Principal Secretary Shashi Bhushan Kumar, Sharma said, “like Telangana, had we given only dearness allowance and not the 27 per cent interim relief (IR), we could have saved at least 10,000 crore over the last 30 months. IR is like an interest-free loan which has to be recovered, call it by whatever name." 

However, he added that the government would follow the directions of the High Court in this connection. The High Court, hearing a public interest litigation against the pay revision, issued an interim order two days ago directing the state government not to effect any recoveries from the employees’ salaries. 

The Chief Secretary noted that IR could not be a part of the salary. “It is only an interim relief between the old and the new pay revision, which has to be subsequently adjusted. One may call it recovery or adjustment or whatever, but it is like an interest-free loan," he said. 

The bureaucrats once again claimed that the “gross salary" for the month of January was “higher" compared to the previous month because of the pay revision. “There may be 10 or 11 components in the salary but you have to take an overall look. It is pure arithmetic and not any logic. It shows a clear increase in the gross," they maintained, brushing aside the employees’ lament over pay cut. 

Earlier, addressing a large gathering here, the Pay Revision Commission Struggle Committee leaders said, "this is a historic struggle. Lakhs of employees are behind us. Even the police are behind us." They rejected the ruling YSR Congress' claim that vested interests were behind the employees' agitation. 

"This government should realise what the power of employees is. Once we go on indefinite strike from February 7, the government will only be responsible for any inconvenience caused to people," the Struggle Committee leaders said. 

For the past few days, the AP government employees, teachers and pensioners are strongly opposing the recent pay revision, saying it was detrimental to their interests. Rather than a hike, the salary revision orders only resulted in pay cuts to all, they said. From February 5, the employees would adopt "non-cooperation", ahead of the indefinite strike from midnight of February 6, they added.

(With inputs from agencies)

 

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