Report No. 137
The Commission Recommends Accordingly Postscript
Even as this Report is being finalized, the Commission has been apprised of the appalling fact that about 400 employees of West Bengal are being subjected to unwarranted delay on account of the apparently callous indifference of the office of RPFC.
This has come to light in the context of the complaint of gross delay of as many as 4 years (nearly) which has caused considerable distress and anguish to one Parsuram Singh, a retired employee of National Iron & Steel Co. (1984) Ltd. He has been made to suffer for nearly four years without any justification.
When information regarding his complaint was sought from the Company, it was brought to the notice of the Commission that there were nearly 500 similar employees who were similarly suffering on account of the apathy of the RPFC and that the Company on its part had even written a letter on 18th January, 1989 to the RPFC inter alia stating that the employees were being subjected to misery and some of them had even died. To quote the relevant extracts:-
(i) about 500 provident fund final claims are lying pending in your accounts group Howrah, since long;
(ii) the concerned members are reported to the under-going tremendous financial hardship and are often agitating before us;
(iii) some of them already been Expired Without any Treatment and proper diet;
(iv) indignation of the Provident Fund beneficiaries seemed to be such as it appears that outgoing members/their nominees may at any time resort to the unrestful atmosphere;
(v) We have Already Specifically Deposited their provident fund dues to your office for necessary settlement;
(vi) I feel and fervently pray to your goodself to look into the matter of early disposal of the stated claims to mitigate their untold misery and to avoid further I.R. problem in our organisation.
Yet the RPFC appears to have done nothing for nearly 11/2 years till now. When the Commission addressed the RPFC on 21-12-89, payment of Rs. 37,500 due to Parsuram Singh was made by a cheque dated 1-1-90. This payment was made by a cheque dated 1-1-90. This payment was made within 11 days of the Commission's letter but nearly 4 years too late. And when the Commission pursued the matter with the RPFC, he confessed that 400 such cases were pending and were being processed. Evidently the RPFC has sat tight on the funds belonging to the employees without qualms for nearly 11/2 years even, after the Company called the attention of the RPFC to the helpless employees plight.
And even now the matter is merely being 'processed'. For This Unpardonable Callousness, The RPFC' s Office Alone Appears to be Responsible. [The Entire Correspondence is Appended to This Report and Marked Appendices I(I) To I(VI)]. This Pathetic State Of Affairs Emphatically Underlines The Urgent Need for Implementing The Recommendation Regarding Creation of a Statutory Office of Ombudsman Without any Loss of Time.
We close this report on a note of anguish being struck in the context of the awareness sparked by the realisation that thousands of similarly situated helpless employees or their dependents must be suffering in silence for very many years. Needless to stress with all the emphasis at our command that the matter brooks no delay.
Dated: 20th September, 1990.