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GAIL dismisses disabled employees

DNIS News Network - Four disabled GAIL employees receive termination letters, without warning or even substantial reasons.

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The Gas Authority of India Ltd. (GAIL) has terminated the services of four disabled employees: Rajpal, Rajiv Kumar, and Pushpa Kumari (who are visually disabled); and Anju Thapliyal, who has hearing impairment. The employees were handed their termination letters without any reasons from the public sector unit (P.S.U.).

The visually impaired employees had joined as trainees in 2000, following which the P.S.U. conducted several proficiency tests and upgraded their posts. They worked for three-and-a-half years without any cause for complaint and were suddenly handed their termination letters without adequate explanation. Javed Abidi, Executive Director, N.C.P.E.D.P., commenting this act of “blatant injustice”, said that if this was the case in the public sector, what would possibly be the stand in the private sector?

Thapliyal had joined GAIL in 1994 on a contract basis. In 2001, she was appointed as a trainee in customer care. During her 10 years of service, there was no hint of the forthcoming termination. Nor did the authorities express any dissatisfaction with her performance. However, while on maternity leave, she received a rude shock in the form of her termination letter from the P.S.U.

Interestingly, even intervention by the Petroleum Minister, Mani Shanker Aiyer -- asking GAIL to be sympathetic in the case -- has not evoked any change or response. Abidi also pointed out that GAIL has only 40 disabled employees against the total staff strength of 3,376. These numbers reflect that the P.S.U. does not fulfill the 3 per cent reservation criteria set by the Disability Act of 1995.