Protesting against denial of promotion to a suitable post befitting his educational qualification, R Sivarama Sastry, a lower division clerk (LDC) in the women development and child welfare department in Khammam district has been on a hunger strike for the past 71 days.
It is not the first time that the elderly man, father of a 28-year-old girl suffering from cerebral palsy, is sitting on a hunger strike. In 2016, after he was on a hunger strike. As media reported it, the chief minister took note of his plight and directed the WDCW department to take necessary action. It was then that the department promoted Sastry as LDC, after 24 years of working as a Class-IV employee.
Sastry, an MA in Sociology, said, “After joining the service as a Class-IV employee in 1992 I should have been promoted in 1997 to the post of LDC. As per the then service rules, anyone having Intermediate education and five years of work experience should be promoted as LDC.”
He further said, “The department did further injustice when it did not promote me to the post of child development project officer (CDPO). I did BA in Sociology in 1986 and did MA in 1998. Later, several others less qualified were promoted but I was denied a promotion.”
Sastry claims that had he been given the promotions at the right time, he would have risen to the position of joint director of the department by now. Over the years he made several rounds of the department, even complained to the Prime Minister’s Office which forwarded the complaint to the state chief secretary directing him to take relevant action.
The main reason for Sastry’s desperate attempts at seeking promotion is his 28-year-old daughter with cerebral palsy. What adds to his desperation is that Sastry is going to retire in June next year.
He said, “I have to meet the cost of my daughter’s treatment even after retirement. If I get promotion at least now, my pension amount will increase.”
A senior official said that Sastry had been absconding from duties for the last nine months and a letter was sent to the director of the department seeking to know what action needed to be initiated.
“He was given a punishment posting as a typist as he was not regularly reporting for duty for about six years. Everyone needs to clear an exam to qualify for promotion. At present, there is no scope for any promotion in the office as the model code of conduct for the upcoming elections is in force,” the official explained.