Police foiled a protest staged by employees of the Manipur Agriculture department on Monday as the protest breached COVID-19 SOPs.
Employees of the Agriculture department staged a sit-in-protest in front of the department’s head office in Imphal’s Sangjenthong in Imphal under the aegis of All Manipur Agriculture Department Employees Welfare Organisation (AMADEWO). Members of the All Manipur Agriculture Technologists’ Association and All Manipur Horticulture Technologists’ Association also took part in the protest. The protest was, however, foiled by the police around 1 pm on the charge of violating COVID-19 SOPs, particularly restriction on gathering of more than 20 persons at a time.
The employees were protesting against appointment of a non-professional as director of the department, while demanding revocation of an order appointing an MCS (Manipur Civil Service) cadre as director. “Don’t appoint a director from outside cadre,” “Appoint one of the senior most employees as director”, read some of the placards displayed at the protest site.
Talking to reporters at the protest site, AMADEWO general secretary, L Sanatomba maintained that being a technical department the Agriculture department needs a director who has a technical background of agriculture. The employees were against the appointment of an MCS officer as directors while alleging that the move of the government was not in the interest of department rendering services for the welfare of the farmers of the state. He also said that in the past, the state government used to appoint the director of the department from the staff through a line of promotion that has an agricultural background. However, a recent order of the state government appointed Kh Lalmani Singh, an MCS officer as director of the department. “He may be academically qualified but might have no technical background of agriculture”, Sanatomba added. The appointment of the new director was against a long pending demand of employees to appoint one of the senior most and qualified staff as director, he added.
The employees had also protested against the appointment of an MCS officer as director in the past and despite the strong demand of the employees, the state government once again appointed the MCS officer as new director.
Regarding the matter, the employees had submitted a memorandum submitted to the chief minister.
The employees staged the protest as the state government failed to heed the demand of the employees, he said, and threatened to launch intensified forms of stir in the coming days.
He said that the employees are ready to launch a pen down strike and mass casual leave stirs if the state government fails to address their demand.