Odisha invokes ESMA against agitating fire services personnel

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government today invoked Essential Services (Maintenance) Act against the agitating fire services personnel in the state.

The Home department issued the prohibitory order by exercising the power conferred by sub-section (1) of Section 3 of the Odisha Essential Services (Maintenance) Act, 1988 (Odisha Act 9 of 1992) and Section 2 (v) of the ESMA Amendment Act, 2020. The order will remain in force for a period of six months with effect from the date of issue, said a notification issued by the department today.

The state government has invoked ESMA on the strikes by the fire services personnel to safeguard the interests of public. “Fire services are vitally necessary for the life of the community. So, it is necessary to prohibit strikes of the firemen and their supervisory ranks. Any disruption in the fire services can cause untold hardships to people and can lead to loss of life and property,” added the notification.

Earlier, the personnel of Odisha Fire Services had threatened to launch their cease work agitation today (February 21) to press for their various demands including salaries and allowances at par with Odisha police and registration of their association, which was formed in 1980.

The fire services personnel claimed that they have raised their demands before the state government several times in the past but nothing has been done in this regard.

The firemen were wearing black badges for the last two months to protest the state government’s reluctance to fulfill their demands.

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