Over 200 contingency workers of Pakke Tiger Reserve in Arunachal Pradesh went on a strike from Wednesday over non-payment of wages since December 2020, leaving the tiger reserve unguarded.
All the 202 contingency workers, along with their eight elephants converged at the administrative office of the tiger reserve, spread over 862 km, to demand their wages for the last six months.
“Our strike was scheduled from May 2 but was withdrawn after state Environment and Forest Minister Mama Natung promised that the wages would be released. We can manage somehow, but all of us have families to maintain with the meager wages we get,” Pakke Tiger Reserve Workers Union general secretary Nikum Nabam told newsmen.
The tiger reserve is located in Pakke-Kessang district, about 78 km from the state capital.
Other than payment of the wages of the staff under Project Tiger, the union has demanded regularisation of the Special Tiger Protection Force (STPF), an increase of wage last revised in 2018 to Rs 11,000 per month, and monthly payout instead of periodic disbursement.
The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) provides the wages of the contingency staff of the tiger reserve periodically through the state government.