Pune: Despite writing dozens of letters over a year to Prasar Bharati and the Directorate General of All India Radio (AIR) in Delhi, a 62-year-old retired announcer from Pune is running from pillar to post to get back his Rs 7.7 lakh gratuity amount, which has been held back by Prasar Bharati.
Sunil Deodhar retired from the post of assistant director (programme) at AIR, Pune in July 2016. The concerned office of AIR Pune settled the pension case and sent it to the PAO (Pay and Audit Office) Department of Ministry of Finance, Mumbai, along with fixation of pension. However, the PAO rejected the fixation and recovered an amount of Rs 7,70,000 from the gratuity. They stated that the fixation of his pay was wrong and he was getting extra salary for last 11 years, which needs to be recovered.
The irony of the situation is that Deodhar is only one of the hundreds of retired AIR employees who are struggling to get back their gratuity.
But despite an order of Director of Personnel and Training in March 2016, which states that ‘recovery from retired employees or employees who are due to retire within one year of the order of recovery is impermissible’, Prasar Bharati has held up the gratuity of many retired employees.
Deodhar said, “Eleven years ago, the pay anomaly was removed by the directorate of AIR. They were the ones who raised our salary and all of a sudden after retirement, PAO denies validity of such order. There are hundreds who are trying to get back their rightful money from Prasar Bharati.”
“I am a retired person and Rs 7.7 lakh is a big amount for me. I paid taxes for the salary all these years. How can they do this injustice to me? I am mentally harassed. In such circumstances, they don’t reply to my requests; don’t know what is going on between Prasar Bharati, AIR Directorate and PAO, Mumbai,” Deodhar said.
Anil Kore, a former programme executive at AIR, Satara has the same grievance. He said, “I retired in May 2015 and PAO, Mumbai cut down around Rs 4 lakh from my gratuity. When I objected, they said they have done the right thing and I should accept it. My pension was stopped for eight months and released only after I agreed to their demand of accepting the deduction from my gratuity.”
Vaijnath Gautam, a retired announcer of AIR, Jabalpur said, “I retired in 2015 and am still waiting for my hard-earned money of Rs 10 lakh. I have filed a case with the Central Tribunal against this injustice of Prasar Bharati. There are 25 others who have filed the case against Prasar Bharati in Delhi. Many have not filed a case and are shuttling between Prasar Bharati and PAO, Mumbai. After working for all these years, this is what we got from the organization for which we gave up our whole life.”
Gautam was told by PAO that the organization is not going to hand over his gratuity and he should consider it as a recovery amount.