No salary to sewa kendra staff as govt owes firm ₹203 cr
We have requested the govt to release our dues so we can clear salaries of our staff. We have to pay interest and taxes to the govt also AMITABH GHOSH, zonal head, BLS International
LUDHIANA: The cash-starved Punjab government owes ₹203 crore to the company — BLS International Services Ltd — that manages Sewa Kendras across the state resulting in non-payment of salaries to 7,000 employees.
Opened by the previous Parkash Singh Badal government, Sewa Kendras provide more than 100 citizen-centric services to residents.
On January 24 this year, the Captain Amarinder Singh government decided to shut down 75% of the Sewa Kendras due to lean footfall. As many as 3,500 employees working at the Sewa Kendras will lose jobs once the decision is implemented on August 1.
As against the bill of ₹203 crore, the company received a meagre ₹5 crore from the government on April 13.
Department of governance reforms joint secretary Parminder Pal Singh said, “The department is working on the modalities to pay the outstanding amount to BLS International. We have released ₹131 crore to the company since the initiation of the project and also released another ₹5 crore last week. We will give another ₹25 crore to the company soon.”
BLS International zonal head Amitabh Ghosh said: “We have requested the government to release ₹203 crore so we can clear dues of our employees. We have to pay interest and taxes to the government also.”
Sewa Kendra employees staged a dharna outside the company office at Feroze Gandhi market on Monday. Employees from Mohali, Sangrur, Patiala, Barnala, Rupnagar, Fatehgarh Sahib and Ludhiana protested against BLS International and the state government.
Jagmohan from Muktsar said: “We have not received salaries from November to March. The company never pays us on time and it becomes difficult for us to manage our homes.”
Lok Insaaf Party MLA Simarjeet Singh Bains interacting with agitating sewa kendra employees during a protest against nonpayment of their salaries in Ludhiana on Monday.