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APTDC contract workers call off stir

APTDC contract workers call off stir
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Resorts reopen after 19 days Visakhapatnam: All the contract workers of AP Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC) called off their 19-day-old...

Resorts reopen after 19 days

Visakhapatnam: All the contract workers of AP Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC) called off their 19-day-old strike and resumed their duties on Friday after the management threatened to dismiss them from their services. Around 210 workers struck work on April 8 demanding solution to their various demands. Of the 210, 54 were contract workers and the remaining were taken on daily wage and outsourcing. These two sections of the employees continued with their strike.

Popular tourist spots like Borra Caves, Tyda Jungle Bells, Ananthagiri resorts and other places in Araku Valley and Ananthagiri remained closed since April 8 forcing the tourists to stay in private hotels and resorts. The management threatened the striking employees as the peak tourist would begin on April 23 when the educational institutions declare holidays for summer.

The employees went on an indefinite strike to bring pressure on the government to meet their demands which include regularisation of the services of those working on contract and daily-wage basis and ensuring equal pay for equal work. The contract workers also engaged in heated arguments with the tourists and tourist guides at Borra Caves and other places in Vizag Agency for not supporting their agitation.

The employees went on a similar strike in 2010 and 2012 and called off after assurances were given by the senior officials and the local political leaders. In October last year, the striking employees called off their nine-day-old strike after the management had agreed to allocate 20 per cent of gate collection to the Borra Panchayat with effect from 2007. The strike had led to cancellation of Araku Utsav.

The contract employees and others also ended their strike following talks with Chandana Khan at Araku Valley. But the Girijan guides and people belonging to 14 villages under Borra Panchayat did not relent and insisted on their demand as the laws and directives from the government entitled them to what they were demanding.

In 2007, the then Secretary to the Tribal Welfare Department, V Nagi Reddy, sent a letter to the APTDC to form a committee to look into the demand of allotting funds to the Panchayat, quoting the Supreme Court judgement in the Samata case that business establishments should allot at least 20 per cent of their net profit to the local people. Ten per cent of the gross income from ticket sale at Borra Caves can be equated to 20 per cent of net profit and the sum should be kept as a separate fund, Mr Nagi Reddy had suggested.

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