KATHMANDU, Dec 21: After the government did not address their demands, agitating engineers and other technicians deployed for assisting in the houses reconstruction work in the 11earthquake-hit districts have tendered their resignation en masse to the Ministry of Urban Development on Tuesday.
Of around 2,300 engineers and technicians deployed in the 11districts, as many as 1,200 engineers and technicians reached the Central Level Project Implementation Unit of the ministry on Tuesday and collectively submitted their resignations to joint-secretary of the ministry Shiva Hari Sharma on Tuesday.
However, the ministry has yet to approve their resignations. The resignations have come after the government did not address their various demands by December 15, which was their ultimatum deadline.
"As the government did not address our demands despite our frequent requests, we decided to resign en masse Tuesday. It is not possible to work under such poor conditions any longer," said Gajendra Kumar Jha, an engineer and also a coordinator of the 'central protest committee' formed by the engineers and technicians.
The agitating engineers had been complaining that they have been forced to function under "poor working conditions" without proper office space, and that the government did not provide sufficient perks and other facilities compared to their workload and remoteness of their work stations.
They have demanded that the government should provide allowances equal to 100 percent of their monthly salaries, set up offices for them and provide them life insurance. Similarly, they have also demanded that the government endorse the grant distribution directive in line with the announcement made by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal to increase the grant amount from Rs 200,000 to Rs 300,000 as soon as possible.
The engineers oversee reconstruction of houses constructed by quake victims to ensure that they meet the earthquake-resilient construction guidelines set by the government and make recommendation for the second and third tranches of the government grant. Their resignation is likely to seriously affect the reconstruction work as the government cannot distribute the second tranche to the quake victims as recommendation from the engineers is mandatory for grant.
While receiving the resignation letter, joint-secretary Sharma requested them to return to their work stations saying that the government is all set to address their demands within few days.
"But we will not return to work until the government comes up with a decision to address our demands," Jha said.
Since the past several days, they have halted work in the districts as part of their symbolic protests and many of them descended on the capital to press the government over their demands.