Srinagar: The employees of the Department of Information & Public Relations continued their strike for the second day today demanding immediate revocation of the attachment order of Joint Director Information Kashmir.
Work remained paralysed in the Directorate of Information, the offices of Joint Director Information Kashmir/Jammu and all the District Information Offices across the State with the employees staging protests in all the offices.
Minister for Information & Public Relations, Chowdhary Zulfikar Ali termed the strike uncalled for and which is unjustifiable and without any merit. “This strike is uncalled for and unjustified. We will enquire and law will take its own course if any official found guilty,” he told KNS.
The Director Information, Muneer-ul-Islam today urged the protesting employees to resume their work assuring them that their genuine demands would be taken up for redress at the appropriate quarters.
Following the assurance of the Director Information, the protesting employees decided to end the strike partially by resuming the PR work in the Department from this evening. However, the distribution of advertisements to the newspapers by the offices of JDI Kashmir/Jammu shall continue to remain suspended till their demands are met by the Government.
Pertinently, the employees of the Information Department had proceeded on strike yesterday to protest the attachment of Joint Director Information Kashmir by the Government over the issue of advertisement distribution to newspapers.
According to a spokesman of the Information Department Employees Union the recurrent incidents of intimidation, coercion and blackmailing of the Advertisement Section staff in the offices of JDI Kashmir/Jammu by some small-time editors has to be checked to allow the Department implement the measures taken by the Government for streamlining of the advertisement distribution.
He said unfortunately there has been an alarming increase in incidents of intimidation of the staff working in the advertisement sections of the JDI Kashmir/Jammu by some editors. “And in some incidents such editors resorted to use of nastiest abusive language against the officers and officials of the Information Department for advertisements,” he said.
He said some Editors want the lion’s share of advertisements for their publications circumventing the financial code and the criteria set out in the Advertisement Policy-2016.
According to KNS, the striking employees have sought the personal intervention of the Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, the Information Minister, Chowdhary Zulfkar Ali and the Chief Secretary, B B Vyas in ending the impasse by revoking the attachment order of the Joint Director Information Kashmir, who they said is a highly upright officer.
They have also sought the cooperation of the Kashmir Editors Guild, J&K Joint Forum of Newspaper Editors, Editors Guild Jammu, Working Journalists Association Kashmir and Jammu Press Club in ensuring that the incidents of intimidation and coercion of the Information Department employees by some boisterous editors is stopped forthwith to ensure a cordial relation between the Information Department and the media in the State.
Pertinently, the Information Department is issuing advertisements to the tune of Rs 30 crore every year to the newspapers under the budget head in addition to the advertisements to the tune of Rs 10 crore being distributed under the non-budget head annually.
The Department has of late taken various measures to streamline the advertisement distribution and release of payments to the newspapers resulting in clearance of liabilities to the tune of around Rs 12 crore during the past fiscal.