Volume 4 Issue 7 - April 01, 2006

G.A.I.L. takes back two of the four sacked disabled employees

D.N.I.S. News Network- In a style that the disability sector has come to expect from the G.A.I.L. (Gas Authority of India Limited) Chairman and Managing Director, Prashanto Banerjee, over the past one year, two of the four disabled employees --Pushpa Kumari and Anju Thapliyal-- sacked in 2005 by the public sector undertaking have been reselected for joining the company while the two other have been left out.

Picture of four disabled employees sacked by GAIL in the dharna

The development has been claimed in the media by the G.A.I.L. management as an evidence of its disabled-friendly recruitment policy and the commitment to three per cent reservation for disabled people as per the Disability Act, 1995.

But for the remaining two of its sacked disabled employees, Rajpal and Rajiv Kumar, who have been left out by G.A.I.L. once again for taking a principled stand, this is yet another insult from the management.

The issue of sacking of the four disabled employees had come under intense media scrutiny last year when Disabled Rights Group (D.R.G.) had stepped in to support their cause and Convenor Javed Abidi was forced to sit on a fast unto death on 5 May, 2005 in their support. The issue caught national attention with G.A.I.L. launching a media blitzkrieg against the movement and these employees by claiming that the employees were only ‘trainees’ despite being on the staff for close to a year and being paid salaries as per the norms.

When the pressure peaked due the gathering support for the movement, the G.A.I.L. management offered jobs to the four disabled employees with its sister concern Indraprastha Gas Limited (I.G.L.). The offer was initially turned down by them, saying that they did not want charity but their due rights. However, on receiving assurance from Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar himself, the four disabled people agreed. Abidi broke his fast on 6 May 2005..

Despite all this, the four people were not absorbed by I.G.L. Two months later, a meeting was called by Aiyar to personally intervene once again but the G.A.I.L. management paid no heed C.M.D. Banerjee did not even attend the meeting. Nothing has happened since then as a new face took charge of the Ministry with the taking over of Murli Deora.

Abidi has written to G.A.I.L. C.M.D. appreciating the fact that the public sector unit has taken in two disabled women (Anju and Pushpa) who were wronged earlier but have now been rehabilitated. He has also urged Banerjee that the two other sacked disabled employees also are taken in.

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