Assam Govt employees hold protest meet seeking restoration of OPS

Guwahati: The Old Pension Scheme (OPS) must be reintroduced, thousands of Assam government employees demanded in a protest meeting held here on Tuesday. They also threatened to escalate the agitation if their demand was not granted within this month.

Workers’ federation leaders and members from other states of the nation joined them in a show of support as employees from various districts travelled to the city for the conference organised by the All Assam Government NPS Employees’ Association (AAGNPSEA).

“Our demand is simple. We want restoration of the OPS. It was the single proposal adopted at today’s protest meeting and we have forwarded the demand to the chief minister,” AAGNPSEA President Achyutananda Hazarika told PTI.

Around 2.4 lakh of Assam’s five lakh government workers are covered by the New Pension Scheme (NPS).

“The administration has promised to look into our request,’ However, if we do not hear back by November 30, we will need to step up our agitation,” he added.

According to Hazarika, the demonstrators planned to march approximately five kilometres to Dispur, the capital, from the Veterinary College Field in the Khanapara area of the city, but were prevented from doing so by the authorities.

“We did not want to cause any law and order situation as we are government employees. Hence, we decided to abide by the instruction of the authorities this time. But if our demand is not fulfilled, we will have to resort to more intensified protest,” he said.

The National OPS Restoration United Forum leaders, as well as representatives from the employee associations from Telangana, Jammu and Kashmir, Chattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, and Arunachal Pradesh, according to the president of the AAGNPSEA, took part in the demonstration.

He stated that there were also representatives from several railroad, banking, and postal unions there.

Lakhs of Assam government employees had observed ‘Karma Birati’ (cessation of work) at their respective workplaces on August 22, also under the aegis of AAGNPSEA, demanding scrapping of the New Pension Scheme (NPS) and restoration of the old one.According to the Association, retired NPS personnel only receive a relatively small pension each month, making it impossible for them to support themselves.

Due to an invitation for a dialogue from the Assam finance minister, it had to postpone its agitational programmes that were intended in June and July. The group called the protest meeting after the debate ended without any “beneficial action.”

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