Jammu, December 5: Employees of Dharmarth Trust on Saturday staged a demonstration outside Raj Bhavan here and sought intervention of Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha in resolving their various demands including enhancement of their salaries.
Run by the erstwhile royal Dogra family, the Trust was founded in 1846 by Maharaja Gulab Singh to maintain temples and other properties associated with them in Kashmir, Jammu, Himachal Pradesh, Haridwar and Varanasi.
The employees, including dozens of priests, assembled outside the Raj Bhavan under the banner of Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) to highlight their various demands including pay scale at par with Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB) employees, release of one month pay as bonus, release of 15 per cent Dearness Allowance installment and implementation of a health scheme.
“It is very unfortunate that the employees of the Dharmarth Trust are forced into the streets by the rigid attitude of the management which has failed to address their genuine issues,” a BMS leader Ashok Choudhary, ex-President Kernail Chand Thakur and ex-General Secretary, Pritam Sharma said on Saturday.
They said they have assembled outside the Raj Bhavan to demand the merger of all Dharmarth Trust temples with SMVDSB for their proper development.
They alleged that Dharmarth Trust administration is not functioning in a professional manner and near and dears of the main trustees are selling the Trust property.
The protesters also demanded revocation of the suspension order of five of their colleagues, including president of Dharmarth Trust Employees Association and general secretary, for coming on the roads with their demands.
They accused the trust management of taking up wrong policies and demanded a probe into the financial transactions.
“Majority of the employees are paid just Rs 6,000, while those who have completed 40 years of their services are paid Rs 9,000. Their families are suffering because of lower wages,” the spokesperson said.
He also urged the Chairman of the Trust Karan Singh, who is also the son of the last Dogra ruler Maharaja Hari Singh, to hold talks with the protesting employees and revoke the suspension order of five employees immediately.
They also submitted a memorandum to Lt Governor appealing him to constitute a board so that properties of the trust can be saved and also initiate enquiry in the bungling in the working of Trust.
Dharmarth Trust Employees Association representatives informed that they concluded four-day strike and future course of action will be held in the meeting to be held on December 7. They warned that if their demands will not redress immediately, trust employees intensify agitation in strong way for which administration is responsible for any untoward incident.
Surjeet Singh, Parshotam Sharma, Ram Paul Sharma, Rajinder Shastri Jagjeet Chand, Anil Sharma, Balwant Shastri, Harbans Shastari, Madan Sharma, Pt. Jeeven Kumar, Kundan Lal Subash Shastri, Rakesh Shastari, Rekha Devi, Bandana Devi, Madam Handa, Vimal Khajuria, Bablu Kumar, Pt. Ashwani Kumar, Sat Paul Pandit, Sagar Singh and Bhikham Singh also address the employees.