New Delhi: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath has been approached with a request from the bank employees’ union, representing bankers working in Madhya Pradesh, seeking official holiday on “Govardhan puja” that is scheduled for one day after Diwali, on 28 October.
Under the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881, the state government has the power to declare public holidays across banking and financial institutions.
Two of the most prominent employees’ unions representing the bankers’ interest in the state—the United Forum of Bank unions, which represents both the officer and clerical cadre of all the PSU banks in the state, and SBI officers association, Bhopal circle—in their correspondence with the CM office, have stated that the Madhya Pradesh government has declared the least number of holidays across India, 18.
In Karnataka, the state government, under the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881, has declared 28 public holidays for bankers, while it is 26 in West Bengal and Jharkhand, 25 in Maharashtra and 24 in Uttar Pradesh.
As per the correspondence, the copies of which are available with The Sunday Guardian, shared by these two unions with the Chief Minister, almost all the states across India, including Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tripura and Gujarat, have declared a public holiday on 28 October on account of Govardhan puja.
“Diwali is the biggest festival for us and Govardhan puja is a very important part of it. Govardhan puja used to be a public holiday in the past. We are just demanding that since it is a very important day for many of our employees, it should be declared a holiday. The Kamal Nath government should remember that the bankers in the state work on Rakshabandhan, Janmashtami, Ganesh Chaturthi, Ambedkar Jayanti, when the rest of the government offices are closed,” a Bhopal-based branch manager with the State Bank of India said.
Speaking to The Sunday Guardian, Sanjeev Sablok, the general secretary of SBI Officer’s Association and who is also the convenor of the United Forum of Bank unions, said that they are waiting for a response from the Chief Minister’s office. “We have met senior officials in this regard, the final decision will be of the Chief Minister and we are waiting to meet him. Diwali is the biggest festival for all and we are doing nothing wrong if we are asking for just one day holiday due to Diwali. The bankers in the state get the least number of holiday when you compare it to the other government offices. It is a very reasonable request and we are hopeful that the Chief Minister will consider it,” Sablok said.