Strike is un­jus­ti­fi­able, un­called for: Zul­fikar Ali

The Northlines - - FRONT PAGE - NL COR­RE­SPON­DENT

The em­ploy­ees of the Depart­ment of In­for­ma­tion & Pub­lic Re­la­tions con­tin­ued their strike for the sec­ond day to­day de­mand­ing im­me­di­ate re­vo­ca­tion of the at­tach­ment or­der of Joint Di­rec­tor In­for­ma­tion Kash­mir.

Work re­mained paral­ysed in the Direc­torate of In­for­ma­tion, the of­fices of Joint Di­rec­tor In­for­ma­tion Kash­mir/jammu and all the District In­for­ma­tion Of­fices across the State with the em­ploy­ees stag­ing protests in all the of­fices.

Min­is­ter for In­for­ma­tion & Pub­lic Re­la­tions, Chowd­hary Zul­fikar Ali termed the strike un­called for and which is un­jus­ti­fi­able and with­out any merit. "This strike is un­called for and un­jus­ti­fied. We will en­quire and law will take its own course if any of­fi­cial found guilty," he told KNS.

The Di­rec­tor In­for­ma­tion, Muneer-ul-is­lam to­day urged the protest­ing em­ploy­ees to re­sume their work as­sur­ing them that their gen­uine de­mands would be taken up for re­dress at the ap­pro­pri­ate quar­ters.

Fol­low­ing the as­sur­ance of the Di­rec­tor In­for­ma­tion, the protest­ing em­ploy­ees de­cided to end the strike par­tially by re­sum­ing the PR work in the Depart­ment from this evening. How­ever, the dis­tri­bu­tion of ad­ver­tise­ments to the news­pa­pers by the of­fices of JDI Kash­mir/jammu shall con­tinue to re­main sus­pended till their de­mands are met by the Govern­ment. Per­ti­nently, the em­ploy­ees of the In­for­ma­tion Depart­ment had pro­ceeded on strike yes­ter­day to protest

the at­tach­ment of Joint Di­rec­tor In­for­ma­tion Kash­mir by the Govern­ment over the is­sue of ad­ver­tise­ment dis­tri­bu­tion to news­pa­pers.

Ac­cord­ing to a spokesman of the In­for­ma­tion Depart­ment Em­ploy­ees Union the re­cur­rent in­ci­dents of intimidation, co­er­cion and black­mail­ing of the Ad­ver­tise­ment Sec­tion staff in the of­fices of JDI Kash­mir/jammu by some small­time edi­tors has to be checked to al­low the Depart­ment im­ple­ment the mea­sures taken by the Govern­ment for stream­lin­ing of the ad­ver­tise­ment dis­tri­bu­tion.

He said un­for­tu­nately there has been an alarm­ing in­crease in in­ci­dents of intimidation of the staff work­ing in the ad­ver­tise­ment sec­tions of the JDI Kash­mir/jammu by some edi­tors. "And in some in­ci­dents such edi­tors re­sorted to use of nas­ti­est abu­sive lan­guage against the of­fi­cers and of­fi­cials of the In­for­ma­tion Depart­ment for ad­ver­tise­ments," he said.

He said some Edi­tors want the lion's share of ad­ver­tise­ments for their pub­li­ca­tions cir­cum­vent­ing the fi­nan­cial code and the cri­te­ria set out in the Ad­ver­tise­ment Pol­icy-2016.

Ac­cord­ing to KNS, the strik­ing em­ploy­ees have sought the per­sonal in­ter­ven­tion of the Chief Min­is­ter, Me­hbooba Mufti, the In­for­ma­tion Min­is­ter, Chowd­hary Zulfkar Ali and the Chief Sec­re­tary, B B Vyas in end­ing the im­passe by re­vok­ing the at­tach­ment or­der of the Joint Di­rec­tor In­for­ma­tion Kash­mir, who they said is a highly up­right of­fi­cer.

They have also sought the co­op­er­a­tion of the Kash­mir Edi­tors Guild, J&K Joint Fo­rum of News­pa­per Edi­tors, Edi­tors Guild Jammu, Work­ing Jour­nal­ists As­so­ci­a­tion Kash­mir and Jammu Press Club in en­sur­ing that the in­ci­dents of intimidation and co­er­cion of the In­for­ma­tion Depart­ment em­ploy­ees by some bois­ter­ous edi­tors is stopped forth­with to en­sure a cor­dial re­la­tion between the In­for­ma­tion Depart­ment and the me­dia in the State. Per­ti­nently, the In­for­ma­tion Depart­ment is is­su­ing ad­ver­tise­ments to the tune of Rs 30 crore ev­ery year to the news­pa­pers un­der the bud­get head in ad­di­tion to the ad­ver­tise­ments to the tune of Rs 10 crore be­ing dis­trib­uted un­der the non-bud­get head an­nu­ally.

The Depart­ment has of late taken var­i­ous mea­sures to stream­line the ad­ver­tise­ment dis­tri­bu­tion and re­lease of pay­ments to the news­pa­pers re­sult­ing in clear­ance of li­a­bil­i­ties to the tune of around Rs 12 crore dur­ing the past fis­cal. (KNS)

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