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RAEA illegally sacks woman employee

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“Defunct” executive of RAEA illegally removes a regular woman employee from service amid COVID-19 pandemic

Manish Goyal, Jaipur: The Rajasthan Adult Education Association (RAEA), a premier non-government organisation (NGO), working in the domain of literacy and education since 1973, is now in the grip of anarchy, orchestrated by a “crooked” bunch.

The defunct executive body, which is on an extended lease due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is functioning arbitrarily cornering resources raised from public money.

“The three-year term of the executive body has expired in April 2020. But, due to the coronavirus crisis, it has been extended to carry out routine work. Taking advantage of the situation, the chairman and his team is exploiting resources and wealth of the organisation,” said an employee on condition of anonymity.

The staff alleged that the members of the committee are conspiring to embezzle assets of the NGO, which has been set up on prime land at Jhalana Institutional Area spread across 8,000 square-metre.

In July this year, the ‘defunct’ executive body of the NGO had illegally terminated services of a woman employee after depriving her from her monthly salary for 17 months. The victim—Rachna Siddha— had been working there for last 25 years. With her hard work, she had earned a good name for the NGO in the field of content creation.

The chairman and secretary, who got extended lease of life due to the pandemic, fired a regular employee during the difficult time of COVID-19. The development took place when the Rajasthan government requested employers to observe empathy towards employees.

“They abruptly terminated my services without giving any prior notice and that too, when the executive body was defunct. Since the term of the elected body expired in April this year, it has no right to take any policy decision like terminating services of a permanent employee,” she alleged.

Siddha said that the management had cited lack of funds as the reason behind her sacking, whereas no cost-cutting measure was adopted apart from terminating her.

“They said they had been giving me salary for the last three years without any work and amid shortage of fund. If that is the case, then what made them buy an SUV for the chairman in December 2017 and re-employ a retired person Dinesh Purohit on contract? Purohit, 68, has no qualification, other than being chairman’s hitman. If work is not left and organisation is reeling under financial crisis, why the chairman could not resist the temptation to buy a new SUV from public money for his personal use? When an organisation has money to pay a retired person, it can’t give financial crisis as a reason for sacking me,” Rachna alleged.

She also points out that the executive body discriminated against her for being a woman. In the last 25 years, she didn’t get any promotion and had to fight tooth and nail to get the benefit of Provident Fund, which is the right of every employee.

She said that the NGO had singled her out and didn’t pay her monthly wages for the past 17 months without ascertaining any reason. During the same period, many employees got promotion and hefty salary hikes, but she was being deprived of her rightful wages. The torture was so severe that the management didn’t reply to her request letters and follow up reminders for releasing salaries. She alleged that the callousness of the management was at its peak when her (Rachna’s) husband had to undergo a heart procedure and she was still denied her rightful dues.

“I requested the management to pay me my dues. Till that time, salary of 14 months was due, but my requests fell on deaf ears. No one turned up and I had to take personal loan for treatment of my retired husband. This is sheer cruelty. I never expected such inhumanity from an organisation where I devoted 25 years of my life,” she rued.

“I was appointed by the Rajasthan Adult Education Association (RAEA), whereas my termination letter bears the name of State Resource Centre (SRC) as my employer. I had joined the organisation in 1995 while SRC was registered in 2007. My services were never been transferred to SRC. So, how can an organisation, which came into being during my uninterrupted tenure, become my employer,” she alleged.

The chairman of RAEA Ramesh Thanvi said that the organisation had no funds and that is the reason for Rachna’s termination. “Due to lack of funds, we had to end her services. There are no other reasons for her termination,” he said.