The United Employee Association (UEA) consisting of ad-hoc employees of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) today launched a pen-down strike in their offices, demanding regularization of their services.

The UEA affiliated to the Binoy Tamang faction of the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha had started its protest programmes with dharnas in front of Lalkothi, the GTA headquarters, along with the GTA office at the Lewis Jubilee Complex here on 17 August. “We had started with dharnas, demanding regularization, but with it not yielding any results we started the pen-down strike today. We have, however, given relaxation to those working in the health sector, including Covid duty, and other emergency work,” UEA general secretary DP Khawas said.

“If our demands are still not met, we will decide on what to do further. However, our programmes will go on until our demands are met,” he added.

According to Mr Khawas, the state government had in 2009 agreed to regularise 3,472 workers. There are presently around 4,851 such pay band workers with most having given appointment during the time of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council.

According to Morcha (Tamang camp) leader Keshav Raj Pokhrel, the party supports the UEA and is ready to provide any help it requires. “Our party president will be writing a letter to the Bengal CM regarding their demand,” he said.

On the other hand, GTA chairman Anit Thapa said, “I have written a letter to the CM, Mamata Banarjee, about this long-pending issue relating to the regularisation of ad-hoc employees of the GTA.”

Talking to reporters today, UEA leader in Kurseong Sandip Bal thanked all GTA employees who supported their pen-down strike in different GTA offices in the region.