Pune: After two weeks of continuous hunger strike, the employees of Maharashtra Rajya Sahakari Sangh (MRSS) have declared that they are considering extreme options like self immolation if the government keeps ignoring their demands. The employees have been on a hunger strike demanding payment of their salaries which are due for the last 15 months, among other demands.
DD Sonalekar, the head of Kruti Samiti spearheading the protest, said, “We are holding a sit-in protest here for the last two weeks because for the last 15 months, we, the employees of the state cooperative body, have not been given our hard earned salaries,” adding, “We already get a salary according to the 5th pay commission.
“That meagre amount also has been held back blaming ‘lack of funds’.” “The 100 year-old cooperative movement has been damaged by the State government. There is need for a separate educational fund for MRSS which carries out educational and training activities all over the state for cooperative bodies,” Sonalekar said, adding, “These funds were denied to MRSS and the organisation has been falling short of funds to carry out its operations.”
“We carry out educational and training programmes in the remotest parts of Maharashtra like Gadchiroli and spread the cooperative movement further, creating employment and awareness,” said SM Lote, of the Hingoli Jilha Sahakari Board, adding, “We have been approaching the State government repeatedly for justice. But today, we are so helpless that we can’t even pay for our children’s expenses.”
“Even though we haven’t received our payments from January 2017, we have not stopped our work.
“We have been diligent in our work of taking the cooperative movement to the masses by training urban cooperative banks, dairies and other such upcoming cooperatives to benefit the masses,” Lote said, adding, “But if the government keeps ignoring us further, we may have no option than to immolate ourselves to maintain our dignity.”