Will all kalyanakatta barbers get equal pay?
A million dollar question doing the rounds among the \'Srivari sevak-barbers, piece-rate barbers and the permanent barbers working at the \'Kalyanakatta - the tonsure centre\' at Tirumala is whether the most desired \'common rule\' for all prevail among the work-force.
Tirupati: A million dollar question doing the rounds among the 'Srivari sevak-barbers, piece-rate barbers and the permanent barbers working at the 'Kalyanakatta - the tonsure centre' at Tirumala is whether the most desired 'common rule' for all prevail among the work-force.
The reason for this is the fact that although the richest temple in the country rakes in a revenue of over Rs 200 crore annually through the sale of human hair, the inequity in the 'overall package' offered to the barbers split in to three groups has often led to flared up protests. 'The flawed 'hiring' policy of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams has literally led the temple administration to the sorry state of affairs it finds itself in at present,' according to Kandarapu Murali, Kalyanakatta Tonsurers Union Honorary president (CITU).
He points out that while the 298 permanent barbers in the TTD enjoy all benefits including higher pay, quarters, bus pass, darshan facility for the family at Tirumala and laddu card, the second group of around 320 barbers who are 'piece-rate barbers' are paid Rs.7 per tonsure and Rs.3 per partial tonsure (kathera).
The third group is called 'Srivari Sevaks' whose services TTD began using at the Kalyanakatta free of cost since four years. The services of around 800 Srivari sevaks are used free of cost by the TTD till now. Hema Kumar, Piece-rate Barbers Union president said, 'Though the services offered by these three categories of barbers are hardly different, the discrimination in the pay and overall package has resulted in discontent among the groups over the years.'
While on one hand the piece-rate barbers who have been in service for several years now are demanding to be absorbed into the TTD as permanent employees, the Srivari sevaks are demanding piece-rate to be paid to them. The previous TTD board had approved the plea of the long serving piece-rate barbers to be made permanent and sent the recommendation for government approval.
But the government has not yet acted on TTD recommendations Meanwhile, TTD EO Dr D Sambasiva Rao who looked into the overall-issues of the Kalyanakatta had recently approved the plea of the Srivari sevaks to be paid on par with the piece-rate barbers from April. The remuneration would be deposited in to their bank accounts every fortnight. Now whether it is piece-rate or Srivari sevaks or any other outsourcing name, time has come for the TTD to ensure there is a common rule for all.