Volume 3 Issue 9 - May 01, 2005

Abidi to fast unto death unless GAIL reinstates its disabled employees

DNIS News Network - The insensitive and reckless dismissal of four disabled employees from GAIL in January 2004 has left Javed Abidi no option but to fast unto death, unless their jobs are restored.

On 30 January, 2004, Gas Authority of India Ltd. (G.A.I.L.) suddenly terminated the services of four of its disabled employees- Rajpal, Rajiv Kumar, and Pushpa Kumari (who are visually disabled); and Anju Thapliyal, who has hearing impairment. (See news 'GAIL dismisses disabled employees', April 01, 2005.) The employees were handed over their termination letters on 30 January without any reasons or explanation from G.A.I.L. authorities and with no notice whatsoever.

The matter came to the notice of N.C.P.E.D.P. in July 2004, and it decided to intervene immediately. After a lot of campaigning, a meeting was finally called by the officials of the Ministry of Petroleum in October 2004. Officials of G.A.I.L., the disabled employees, and Javed Abidi, Executive Director of N.C.P.E.D.P., were present at the meeting. After a fairly detailed enquiry, the Ministry admonished G.A.I.L. for the “apparent lack of sensitivity in dealing with the issue” and advised the creation of supernumerary positions for the concerned disabled people.

However, in spite of all these efforts, several months have gone by and justice has still not been given to the four disabled employees. Jobless and without any source of income, their condition is indeed precarious.

As a last ditch effort, Abidi has decided fast unto death, from Thursday, 5 May, 2005. He has sent a letter to G.A.I.L., clearly stating that the only action that would prevent him from doing so would be for G.A.I.L. to reinstate the four disabled people in their respective posts. Minster Mani Shankar Aiyer has also been sent an urgent appeal to ensure that G.A.I.L. gives due justice to the concerned disabled employees.

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