Employment March 18, 2020
Disabled scientist Gnana Bharathi alleges discrimination & denial of promotion
Eighteen years ago, Gnana Bharathi was paralysed chest downwards after he sustained a spinal cord injury in a train accident. While he has overcome the challenges of his disability, Bharathi alleges that he continues to be discriminated against the workplace.
A geological scientist with advanced degrees in geology and mineral exploration, Gnana Bharati works in the Environment and Technology Division at the Central Leather Research Institute in Chennai. Despite his qualifications and consistent research, Prof Bharathi alleges that he has been denied a promotion.
“For over two years, I have been overlooked for promotions while my colleagues have moved up the ladder”, said Bharathi to NewzHook. “This is despite the fact that I have the maximum number of patent applications”. Appeals to higher authorities, he says, are going unheard. “I also filed an RTI asking for the details of my colleagues’ scientific performance to see how they have done compared to me but that has been denied”.
Sustained discrimination since accident
Bharathi says he has been side-lined deliberately as fought a battle to work in this particular division. For nine years, he was made to work in the CLRI library despite possessing the right qualifications.
Bharathi was a senior scientist at Central Institute of Mining and Fuel Research (CIMFR), Dhanbad, Jharkhand when he was disabled in a train accident in 2002. “The result was total permanent disability of 90%. I am a wheelchair user with no control of bladder, bowel controls, nor can I sense and feel heat or cold”. He was transferred to Chennai in 2007 because of the issues related to his disability.
Strong academic & research credentials ignored
Despite these challenges, Bharathi started work on the field of Scientometrics and has authored three publications which have been published in a top journal. He also filed four patent applications which were published.
I have been discriminated from the date of joining in July 2007. Despite my interest to join in the Environmental Division or Economics Division or HRD, I was forcibly posted to the library. I had tried for a transfer to other research departments within our organisation, but no use – no one wanted to take me. – Gnana Bharathi, Scientist, Central Leather Research Institute, Chennai
After a sustained battle, Bharathi managed to get a transfer to the department of his choice, but his career is on freeze. “Though the department has a number of projects, I am not included as a part of any. I had to bring the computer and printer from the library as the department refused to provide even these basic facilities”. He also said the institute has given him less than one lakh rupees to carry out research.
Bharathi now plans to appeal to the Office of the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities. “I am being treated like an outsider. If I had been given a conducive environment, my performance would have been far superior to the current status. But no one even listened to me in this organisation. Yet, I keep on working”.
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