Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Nagaland: Govt invokes ESMA; Nurses to sit on dharna from today

Staff Reporter/Correspondent

Even as the Department Recruited Aggrieved Nurses (DRAN) 2021, demanding regularisation of their service and release of pending salaries, intensified the ongoing agitation by deciding to stage a dharna (day and night) outside the State Civil secretariat complex from November 17 onwards, the state government on Wednesday invoked Section 3 (1) of the Nagaland Essential Services (Maintenance) Act, 1978 (ESMA).
The state government, through DIPR, said that the ‘cease work’ protest by the aggrieved nurses employed/deployed in government health unit/facilities would seriously impact the delivery of essential services, thereby putting in grave jeopardy the lives and well-being of the people of the state.
Taking note of this, the state government has prohibited the call for cease of work by aggrieved nurses from November 5, 2022.
It said that no nurses employed/deployed/engaged in any government health unit/facility shall go for agitation or cessation of work, and any such act shall be considered illegal.
Those nurses on strike would be punished on conviction with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine which that may extend to Rs. 1000 or with both.
They will also be liable to disciplinary action under the relevant service/conduct rules or contractual conditions, as applicable. Notwithstanding anything contained in CrPC, any police officer could arrest without warrant any such nurses, reasonably suspected of having committed the illegal act of ceasing work/going on strike under Section 8 of the ESMA, the order ruled.
Nurses to stage dharna from today
Anguished by the “cold shoulder” response of the state government to meet the demand of DRAN 2021, the aggrieved nurses on Wednesday decided to intensify the ongoing agitation by staging a ‘dharna’ from November 17 onwards.
A DRAN member informed Nagaland Post that 125 nurses, recruited during the Covid-19 pandemic, held a meeting at the protest site (Secretariat junction) and decided to launch the third phase agitation.
For the fifth time, DRAN said that the meeting with Health department officials failed to yield any resolution, as their plea fell on deaf ears.
With no potion left, DRAN said they were compelled to intensify their protest. “We will not leave the site of the protest until our demands are fulfilled,” DRAN officials said.
Besides Trained Nurses’ Association of India Nagaland (TNAI), three student unions also visited them and extended solidarity to the on-going agitation.
CS directs H&FW
Further, in another directive, the chief secretary J. Alam has asked the principal director Health & Family Welfare to issue directives to all CMOS/MS/Controlling Officers in the District/Sub-District/Hospital level to direct its employees not to go on agitations in any form/manner from November 11, 2022.
Citing Rule 25 of the Nagaland Government Servants Conduct Rules, 1968, CS said the rules prohibit government servants from participating in any form of strike or in any way, abet any form of strike. There is no statutory provision empowering the employees to go on strike, CS stated.
Alam also reminded the Supreme Court’s judgments that going on strike was a grave misconduct under the Conduct Rules and should be dealt with it in accordance with law.
CS also said that the proposed stir in any form was likely to cause severe disruption in medical care/public health services and therefore, liable to endanger the life, health and security of the people of the State. “This will tantamount to violating the provisions of the Act and invite penal action,” the chief secretary stated.
Further, as per the Fundamental Rule 17(1), any officer/employee absent from duty without any authority shall not be entitled to any pay and allowances during the period of such absence.
CS warned that any resort to illegal means of agitations shall be viewed seriously and besides deduction of salary on the principal of ‘no work no pay, participants shall also be liable to disciplinary action for grave violation of conduct rules and liable for appropriate action under provision of law.
The chief secretary has directed all Chief Medical Officers and Medical Superintendents to ensure that their subordinate officers follow the directives, and to submit reports in case of any violation through principal director for further action.

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