Over 10,000 government employees in Shimla protest to reinstate old pension scheme

Shimla, March 3

Vehicular traffic to Shimla came to a grinding halt as thousands of employees demanding revival of the old pension scheme, marching towards Vidhan Sabha were stopped near 103 Tunnel by the police. Long queues of vehicles were seen and several commuters had to change their route. However, the traffic within the Shimla town was normal. It was only people entering Shimla from 103 bypass who got stranded.

Tribune photo

The police parked vehicles to stop the employees who had gathered at Tutikandi bypass and moved towards Vidhan Sabha. The employees carrying flags raised slogans "OPS vapis lao", revive old pension scheme. The protestors also appealed the police personnels to cooperate as they were also affected by the NPS.

Tribune photo

Police used water cannons against the protesting government employees, demanding restoration of old pension scheme.The police deployed forces at 103 tunnel to prevent the protesters from moving ahead to ghera the assembly. Fire brigades and water tankers had been deployed to prevent their further movement. People, including school children remained stranded as there was no vehicular movement.

Tribune photo

The new pension scheme employees had already announced to the Vidhan Sabha and even after the announcement of Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur that a committee headed by the Chief Secretary would be constituted to resolve the issue, the employees did not relent.

The employee leaders accused the government of adopting repressive measures and said that the ban on demonstration was an attack on their rights. The leaders claimed that in spite of all efforts of the government to stop the employees from reaching Shimla, thousands employees have gathered today, which is historic.

The announcement of the Rajasthan government to replace the new pension scheme with the old pension scheme has added pressure on the Himachal government which is in the election year.

Employees who joined government service from January 1, 2004 are covered under NPS. The new pension scheme is a contributory scheme in which the government and employees contribute an equal portion towards the pension fund while in the old pension scheme employees with 20 years of service used to get 50 percent of last drawn salary as pension.

Courtesy: Tribune News Service
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