Mangaluru/Udupi, June 07, 2018: The indefinite strike by the rural postal employees under the banner of All India Gramin Dak Sevaks Union (AIGDSU) has disrupted rural postal services in the coastal districts of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi.
Dakshina Kannada district has Mangaluru and Puttur postal divisions. There are 77 rural post offices in Mangaluru division with 225 employees while there are 370 post offices in Puttur division with a staff of 765.
There are 225 rural post offices in Udupi district with 670 employees. The beneficiaries of several welfare schemes of the state and central government, particularly in rural areas, are dependent on postal services to avail of the benefits. However, senior citizens, physically challenged persons and others have not received their pension due to the postal strike. In addition to the routine mails, speed post, money order and parcels remain undelivered due to the stir.
According to the protesting employees, the undelivered mail may also contain call letters for job aspirants, court notices and other correspondence relating to litigation. "The mails are lying undelivered in the post offices. They are occupying most of the space in the post offices," an official said.
Postman MTS Union state president Vijay Nayari said the rural postal employees work on a par with the employees of India Post. "However, the Centre has been discriminating against us when it comes to salary and other facilities to to Gramin Dak Sevaks,” he alleged.
He said that the rural postal employees visit villages to identify female newborns and persuade parents to open an account under Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana. In addition, they deliver mails - ration card, senior citizens’ pension and other allowances to beneficiaries of various welfare schemes. Gramin Dak Sevaks get a starting salary of Rs 4,220. By the time he retires, the salary reaches Rs 12,500. "Is it possible to lead a life with such a meagre salary?" said Udupi district president Basava Billava.
The protesters have been demanding implementation of the recommendations of Kamlesh Chandra Committee report which recommends regualisation of the services of the postal employees and fixing working hours for them. They want the Union government to accept the Kamlesh Chandra Committee report on the wage structure and service conditions of the rural post employees. The committee submitted its report in November 2015. During negotiations on April 24, 2017, Postal Department had promised to meet the demands of the employees, but they said it has failed them.