New Delhi 25 Apr:A group of administrative staff of Akashwani and Doordarshan called Akashwani and Doordarshan Administrative Staff Association (ADASA) has launched a countrywide agitation in support of their various demands. As part of the agitation 5 employees are on indefinite hunger strike since 22nd April, 2008. The Minister of Information & Broadcasting, Shri Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi as well as Secretary, I&B, Mrs. Asha Swarup had earlier met a delegation of this group of employees on three occasions and impressed upon them that the entire issue of Prasar Bharati employees as well as its capital restructuring is under consideration of the Group of Ministers (GOM) constituted for this purpose. Several significant decisions have already been taken by the GOM and the entire issue is likely to be finalized very soon. They were assured that their demands would be placed before the GOM as the issue has to be addressed in its totality.
The matter was accordingly placed before the meeting of the GOM on 4th April, 2008, however, due to paucity of time the GOM decided to deliberate on the employees issues at length in its next meeting. However, even before the demands of this group of employees could be deliberated upon by the GOM, these employees are trying to press the Ministry to immediately issue orders granting them upgraded pay scales. So much so that they have resorted to the extreme step of countrywide agitation, pen down strike and indefinite hunger strike, in an apparent bid to immediately force a decision in their favour even before the GOM can deliberate on their demands. The CEO and Member Personnel immediately met the employees on hunger strike and appealed to them to call off the agitation.
The matter was also raised in the Lok Sabha by several members during the debate on demands for grants for I&B Ministry in the Lok Sabha yesterday. MIB assured the House that he would personally meet the employees and the Joint Secretary would be immediately sent to convey his appeal to the employees. The Minister’s message was accordingly conveyed to the employees last evening. Secretary, I&B, Mrs. Asha Swarup today again called for a meeting with the employees and has reasoned with them as well as appealed to them not to continue with the hunger strike as their agitation is unwarranted at this stage since the matter has already been placed before the Group of Ministers. She has advised patience and that they should await the decision of the Government based on the recommendations of the Group of Ministers which is deliberating upon the complex issues pertaining to the functioning of Prasar Bharati, the Public Service Broadcaster. In response to the appeal made by the Secretary, I&B, the indefinite hunger strike has been called off but ADASA has informed that the pen down strike and agitation will continue. The Minister for Information & Broadcasting, Shri Priyaranjan Dasmunsi will meet this group of employees on 27th April, 2008.