Field assistants working on outsourcing method for Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), who were removed from duties in March following their strike, launched fasting in front of the office of Panchayat Raj and Rural Development Commissioner here on Friday, demanding that they be taken back into duties.

President of the National Backward Classes Welfare Association R. Krishnaiah said the State government had removed over 7,700 field assistants working for MGNREGS in March this year, following their strike in support of long-pending demands. Although most of them had been working for implementation of the project for about 15 years, they were not taken back into duties in spite of repeated requests and in the meantime 14 field assistants had committed suicide due to financial problems arising out of job loss.

He sought to know from the government whether it was wrong to go on strike in support of their demands and how far the attitude of the government was justified even after their unconditional call-off of the strike. Stating that going on strike was a democratic and constitutional right of employees, Mr. Krishnaiah said it was natural justice to take them back into duties.

Mr. Krishnaiah reminded the Chief Minister that it was with the help of movements he could become CM and how he could allow removal of employees from their jobs for going on strike. Since a majority of field assistants were not eligible to compete for other jobs due to age, Mr. Krishnaiah sought to know how they should lead their lives now.

Later, a delegationmet Commissioner M. Raghunandan Rao, who assured them of taking the matter to the notice of the government.

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