Government employees do not need holidays on International Labour Rights Day or May Day as they are not “labourers or workers”, Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Deb said on Sunday, a week after the BJP-Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT) government in the state dropped May Day from the list of holidays.
“You are not a labourer (mazdoor)? No. Am I a labourer? No. I am Chief Minister. So, what for do you need holiday? What will you mourn for (Kya matam manayenge aap)?” he asked a host of senior bureaucratic officers present in the audience at an event of Tripura Gazetted Officers’ Sangh.
“Let me talk about May Day. I am coming to the real part. I have seen where in the country there are holidays (on this day). There are holidays in very few states. What are the provisions of holiday? They (previous Left govt) used to grant holiday to the entire state on this day here. Why do government employees need holiday on May Day?” the chief minister asked.
May Day was included in the list of government holidays in Tripura by the first Left Front government which was formed in 1978 under former Chief Minister Late Nripen Chakraborty.
A notification dated November 3, issued by Under-Secretary SK Debbarma, dropped May Day from the list of state holidays and said government employees would be allowed to avail any four holidays chosen by them out of a list of restricted holidays during 2019.
The list of restricted holidays had 12 ‘festivals’ or ‘occasions’ in it. These included New Year’s Day, Pous Parban – a Bengali harvest festival, Basanti Puja, Mahavir Jayanti, May Day, Ratha Yatra, Jhulanjatra Samapan, Biswakarma Puja, Akheri-Chahar-Sumba, Bhratridwitiya, Guru Nanak’s birthday and the World Disabled Day.
In his address, Deb reasoned that May Day is meant for workers and labourers and no one else. He claimed his government has done justice by granting holiday for workers in the industrial sector on May Day. “There is holiday on May Day in the industrial sector. That holiday is still valid. But are you workers and labourers in the secretariat?” the CM asked.
He said his government has taken the right decision by granting holiday to the right persons at the right place. Holiday was granted to labourers on May Day but for government employees, the day was listed as restricted holiday, the chief minister said.