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Formulate medical scheme for migrant workers: Delhi HC to gov't

The court held that the situation called for a structured response and directed the government to formulate a scheme in two weeks

06 May 2021

migrants

The Delhi High Court has directed the Delhi government to formulate a scheme for migrant and unorganised sector workers under The Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008 and to ensure registration of migrant workers. The bench of Justice Manmohan and Justice Asha Menon took cognisance of the current crisis and stated that a structured response by the administration is required to provide relief to migrant workers.

The petition was filed seeking registration of all migrant workers of Delhi under Section 10 of The Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008 and to provide free medicines and medical facilities to them. The petition also seeks directions to the respondents to fulfil its obligations under The Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979 and to pay monies under the income transfer scheme to all migrant workers of Delhi.

The petitioner, Abhijeet Kumar Pandey, also relies upon Article 43 of the Constitution which comes under Directive Principles of State Policy and binds the respondents to protect the welfare of the people, especially that of the working class. The petitioner suggested that the respondents can make use of central and state funds under the Disaster Management Act to ensure the migrant workers are taken care of during this crisis.

The petitioner also emphasised that no plan has been formulated for setting up a database of the migrant workers even after the migrant crisis of 2020 after the national lockdown was announced. He stated that this was the reason why they have been unable to reach out to all the workers and their families.

Gautam Narayan, on behalf of Delhi government accepted notice but also submitted that the Delhi government is taking various steps to ameliorate the condition of the migrant workmen as well as those working in the unorganised sector and that provisions for free shelter, food and medicare have been made with over Rs. 98 crores disbursed to over 2 lakh workers in April.

The petitioner retorted stating that these steps were taken with respect to workers under The Building and Other Construction Workers’ (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996 only and no relief has been given to workers under The Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008 and furthermore there is no database of migrant workers.

The court took the view that given the crisis situation, a structured response by the administration is required so that the voiceless and the marginalised sections of the society can be given proper and adequate relief.

The court, thus, directed the Chief Secretary, Delhi to frame a Scheme incorporating a structured response for the ‘home-based worker’, ‘self-employed worker’ and ‘unorganised worker’, as defined under The Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008, within two weeks.

The court further directed that while formulating the scheme, the government should keep in mind the prayers sought for in the present writ petition, including the prayer for payment of ex gratia amount to the unorganised workers and the migrant workers and shall also ensure that the registration process under Section 10 of The Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008 is simplified and is implemented.

The court suggested that the Chief Secretary involves elected representatives as well as the civil society in forming the scheme and directed that a status report be filed in two weeks.

The case will be heard on May 20.

The complete order may be read here:

 

Related:

Karnataka HC slams Centre for not increasing oxygen quota despite state’s request

Delhi: The National Capital, is now a city mourning its dead, watching the dying gasp for air

Show cause why contempt action should not be taken for failing to supply oxygen to Delhi: HC slams Centre

Formulate medical scheme for migrant workers: Delhi HC to gov't

The court held that the situation called for a structured response and directed the government to formulate a scheme in two weeks

migrants

The Delhi High Court has directed the Delhi government to formulate a scheme for migrant and unorganised sector workers under The Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008 and to ensure registration of migrant workers. The bench of Justice Manmohan and Justice Asha Menon took cognisance of the current crisis and stated that a structured response by the administration is required to provide relief to migrant workers.

The petition was filed seeking registration of all migrant workers of Delhi under Section 10 of The Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008 and to provide free medicines and medical facilities to them. The petition also seeks directions to the respondents to fulfil its obligations under The Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979 and to pay monies under the income transfer scheme to all migrant workers of Delhi.

The petitioner, Abhijeet Kumar Pandey, also relies upon Article 43 of the Constitution which comes under Directive Principles of State Policy and binds the respondents to protect the welfare of the people, especially that of the working class. The petitioner suggested that the respondents can make use of central and state funds under the Disaster Management Act to ensure the migrant workers are taken care of during this crisis.

The petitioner also emphasised that no plan has been formulated for setting up a database of the migrant workers even after the migrant crisis of 2020 after the national lockdown was announced. He stated that this was the reason why they have been unable to reach out to all the workers and their families.

Gautam Narayan, on behalf of Delhi government accepted notice but also submitted that the Delhi government is taking various steps to ameliorate the condition of the migrant workmen as well as those working in the unorganised sector and that provisions for free shelter, food and medicare have been made with over Rs. 98 crores disbursed to over 2 lakh workers in April.

The petitioner retorted stating that these steps were taken with respect to workers under The Building and Other Construction Workers’ (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996 only and no relief has been given to workers under The Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008 and furthermore there is no database of migrant workers.

The court took the view that given the crisis situation, a structured response by the administration is required so that the voiceless and the marginalised sections of the society can be given proper and adequate relief.

The court, thus, directed the Chief Secretary, Delhi to frame a Scheme incorporating a structured response for the ‘home-based worker’, ‘self-employed worker’ and ‘unorganised worker’, as defined under The Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008, within two weeks.

The court further directed that while formulating the scheme, the government should keep in mind the prayers sought for in the present writ petition, including the prayer for payment of ex gratia amount to the unorganised workers and the migrant workers and shall also ensure that the registration process under Section 10 of The Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008 is simplified and is implemented.

The court suggested that the Chief Secretary involves elected representatives as well as the civil society in forming the scheme and directed that a status report be filed in two weeks.

The case will be heard on May 20.

The complete order may be read here:

 

Related:

Karnataka HC slams Centre for not increasing oxygen quota despite state’s request

Delhi: The National Capital, is now a city mourning its dead, watching the dying gasp for air

Show cause why contempt action should not be taken for failing to supply oxygen to Delhi: HC slams Centre

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May Day and Return of Proletarian Consciousness: Post #COVID19  

01 May 2021

First published on: 01 May 2020

mAY dAY

Mr B.T. Ranadive, well-known trade union and CPM leader, passed away this month 30 years ago in 1990. I still remember walking in the heat as part of his funeral procession from the CITU office in Worli to Dadar. It was an unusually long procession.

Trade unions still held a strong position in society then. But even back then, the mainstream media was not very supportive. I recall covering a well-attended,  CITU conference at the Shanmukhananda hall, Matunga.  Yet, the day after the inaugural session, the Times of India where I worked, did not carry any report. The TOI had a strong CITU union at the time. I think someone spoke to chairman Ashok Jain and subsequently a report appeared.

In the  subsequent era of neoliberalism, union busting became common, it became fashionable among intellectuals to run down the struggle for workers’ rights. Of course, they were handsomely rewarded for their loyalty to the establishment and for their betrayal of people. The most naked example at the government level was the Exit Policy in the nineties which favoured a hire and fire policy. For some years there was not even a cabinet rank labour minister in the state. There used to be a lower rank minister with the status of minister with independent charge.

But then the stark visuals of  the trek  of  long lines of migrant labour from different parts of the country worked like an eye opener. The harsh reality (of their lives) could no longer be ignored. 

It was good to see the bow tie wearing columnist and television interviewer express so much sympathy for workers in a recent interview with an academic. Mr Karan Thapar has changed so much for the better in the last few years. There is a sea change in public perception of labour: we seem suddenly to have become aware of their version of the  tragedy, the problems they face and their overall exploitation.

This is  an interesting phenomenon on the eve of May Day, traditionally a day of assertion of working class solidarity.  There is now the very real possibility of a solidarity being built with other sections as well. Every one is going to be hit now with the exception of the one percent who have fattened themselves at our expense and who pose a serious threat to democracy. Unfortunately, this is also a sad time as there is massive unemployment already and wages are being cut. 

There are various historical versions and accounts around the origin of May Day. Rosa Luxemberg, the renowned radical thinker has said the struggle to attain the eight-hour day was first born in Australia. The workers there decided, in 1856, to organise a day of complete stoppage together with meetings and entertainment as a demonstration in favor of the eight-hour day. The day chosen for this celebration was to be April 21. At first, the Australian workers intended this only for that year, that is 1856. But the first celebration had such a strong effect on the proletarian masses of Australia, enlivening them and leading to new agitation, that it was decided to repeat the celebration every year.

In fact, what could give the workers greater courage and faith in their own strength than a mass work stoppage on which they had decided themselves? What could give more courage to the eternal slaves of the factories and the workshops than the mustering of their own troops? Thus, the idea of a proletarian celebration was quickly and widely accepted and, from Australia, began to spread to other countries until finally it had conquered the whole proletarian world.

The first to follow the example of the Australian workers were the Americans. In 1886 they decided that May 1 should be the day of universal work stoppage. On this day 200,000 of them left their work and demanded the eight-hour day. Later, police and legal harassment prevented the workers for many years from repeating this demonstration. However in 1888 they renewed their decision and decided that the next celebration would be May 1, 1890.

The movement grew stronger over the next few decades

(There have been minor edits made to the original

May Day and Return of Proletarian Consciousness: Post #COVID19  

First published on: 01 May 2020

mAY dAY

Mr B.T. Ranadive, well-known trade union and CPM leader, passed away this month 30 years ago in 1990. I still remember walking in the heat as part of his funeral procession from the CITU office in Worli to Dadar. It was an unusually long procession.

Trade unions still held a strong position in society then. But even back then, the mainstream media was not very supportive. I recall covering a well-attended,  CITU conference at the Shanmukhananda hall, Matunga.  Yet, the day after the inaugural session, the Times of India where I worked, did not carry any report. The TOI had a strong CITU union at the time. I think someone spoke to chairman Ashok Jain and subsequently a report appeared.

In the  subsequent era of neoliberalism, union busting became common, it became fashionable among intellectuals to run down the struggle for workers’ rights. Of course, they were handsomely rewarded for their loyalty to the establishment and for their betrayal of people. The most naked example at the government level was the Exit Policy in the nineties which favoured a hire and fire policy. For some years there was not even a cabinet rank labour minister in the state. There used to be a lower rank minister with the status of minister with independent charge.

But then the stark visuals of  the trek  of  long lines of migrant labour from different parts of the country worked like an eye opener. The harsh reality (of their lives) could no longer be ignored. 

It was good to see the bow tie wearing columnist and television interviewer express so much sympathy for workers in a recent interview with an academic. Mr Karan Thapar has changed so much for the better in the last few years. There is a sea change in public perception of labour: we seem suddenly to have become aware of their version of the  tragedy, the problems they face and their overall exploitation.

This is  an interesting phenomenon on the eve of May Day, traditionally a day of assertion of working class solidarity.  There is now the very real possibility of a solidarity being built with other sections as well. Every one is going to be hit now with the exception of the one percent who have fattened themselves at our expense and who pose a serious threat to democracy. Unfortunately, this is also a sad time as there is massive unemployment already and wages are being cut. 

There are various historical versions and accounts around the origin of May Day. Rosa Luxemberg, the renowned radical thinker has said the struggle to attain the eight-hour day was first born in Australia. The workers there decided, in 1856, to organise a day of complete stoppage together with meetings and entertainment as a demonstration in favor of the eight-hour day. The day chosen for this celebration was to be April 21. At first, the Australian workers intended this only for that year, that is 1856. But the first celebration had such a strong effect on the proletarian masses of Australia, enlivening them and leading to new agitation, that it was decided to repeat the celebration every year.

In fact, what could give the workers greater courage and faith in their own strength than a mass work stoppage on which they had decided themselves? What could give more courage to the eternal slaves of the factories and the workshops than the mustering of their own troops? Thus, the idea of a proletarian celebration was quickly and widely accepted and, from Australia, began to spread to other countries until finally it had conquered the whole proletarian world.

The first to follow the example of the Australian workers were the Americans. In 1886 they decided that May 1 should be the day of universal work stoppage. On this day 200,000 of them left their work and demanded the eight-hour day. Later, police and legal harassment prevented the workers for many years from repeating this demonstration. However in 1888 they renewed their decision and decided that the next celebration would be May 1, 1890.

The movement grew stronger over the next few decades

(There have been minor edits made to the original

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Letter from Central Trade Unions to the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi 

28 Apr 2021

Trade union

After a meeting of the Joint Platform of Central Trade Unions a sharply worded letter to the prime minister enumerates his failures to anticipate and tackle the second surge of the Covid-19 pandemic, and urges a more democratic policy on vaccines and medical equipment.

The entire text of the letter may be read here:

April 28, 2021

To 

Shri Narendra Modi 

Hon’ble Prime Minister 

Government of India,

New Delhi 

 

Sir,

The nation is in the grip of the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic and it is your responsibility, as the head of the executive, to cement a proactive unity of all our people and to meet the challenge posed by this calamity. 

It is necessary for all sections to feel your government is taking care of them, especially the toiling masses, who are forced to leave their homes in search of livelihood. They suffered untold miseries last year as a result of sudden lock down, and their plight continues to this day.

Frontline workers, Anganwadi Workers, ASHA, sanitation workers who have to deal with survey of Covid-19 patients and to clear their refuse, have been burdened with work and have been given fake promises of compensation. They cannot be treated like this by the government itself. 

What we unfortunately see is a complete lack of planning, callous, discriminatory policies and despicable blame game launched by your party to de-stabilise non-BJP state governments, when the need of the hour is proactive unity as stated in the beginning of this representation.

In the midst of this, the vaccine policy announced by the government puts corporate profits above the precious lives of people. Today, it is crucial to strictly regulate, under direct government supervision, the entire vaccination process to ensure that the entire population is vaccinated within a definite time frame. Vaccine production must be urgently scaled up; it must be imported as necessary. But the government is succumbing to the profit hungry international drug mafia and liberalised vaccine sales. The new vaccine policy liberalises the vaccine sale by deregulating the prices through a discriminatory process that too without taking any concrete measures for augmenting availability.

The policy that the state governments have to procure the vaccines from the open market with higher price of Rs 400/Rs 600 per dose as announced by the two vaccine companies in India. They will be thrown into unhealthy competition with each other, and also with the private sector hospitals which are also free to procure the vaccines at Rs 600/ Rs 1200. It is atrocious that the Serum Institute has announced Rs 400 per dose of vaccine for the state governments and Rs 600 for private hospitals in India. It may be noted that Covishield is priced at 1.78 Euro (Rs 160) in Europe and at $4 (Rs 300) in the US and Bangladesh, at Rs.237 in Brazil, at Rs. 226 in UK.   

This pro-corporate deregulation on vaccine and other essential ingredients of pandemic management will further facilitate hoarding and black marketing which is already going on in case of essential medicines like Remdesivir and even oxygen! The Joint Platform of Central Trade Unions and Federations demands the government to withdraw the new pro-corporate as well as discriminatory vaccine policy and take immediate measures to ensure 100% procurement of the vaccine, adequate supply of vaccines to the states, free of cost, utilising the PMCARES Fund. The Govt, sufficiently empowered by Disaster Management Act must not abdicate its responsibility of prioritising protection of the lives of the people during this grave pandemic, over profiteering by vaccine-pharmaceutical barons.

The joint platform of trade unions point out that it is the public sector companies that are, as ever, coming to the rescue of the nation in this critical situation. It is the public sector steel companies that are producing and supplying oxygen; it is the Indian Railways that is transporting Oxygen to the needy states. We also remind the government that it was the public sector financial institutions in our country that have protected the country against the 2008 world crisis.

The joint platform of trade unions demand that the government must immediately stop its mindless privatisation drive. We demand that immediate measures be taken to strengthen the existing public sector medicine and oxygen production units which are already playing a frontline role in producing/supplying oxygen and other necessities and establish new ones to ensure universal and comprehensive public health care. The defense production facilities should be put in use as they had been in the earlier wave and had done commendable job.

Ever since the first wave of the pandemic, you have used the consequent curbs as pretext to push through many anti-worker, anti-farmer legislations, unconstitutional and discriminatory legislations such as CAA, the New Education Policy and rank pro-corporate measures such as tax concessions for them, wholesale privatisation of public sector entities of financial, manufacturing, power, defence, transport sectors, the launch of opaque PMCARES fund. All on the basis of your majority in the Parliament.

Nearly the entire toiling masses are expressing their opposition to these measures, but you have shown scant regard for meaningful dialogue with any of the sectors involved.

The obvious taming of watchdog agencies created by our Constitution as well as the media (social, electronic as well as print) has led to your government being labelled "elected autocracy" in the democratic world.

We demand therefore that 4 labour codes and 3 farm laws be repealed immediately and thereafter enter into genuine dialogue with the stakeholders.

Further at this crucial juncture of speedily unfolding humanitarian crisis, throwing lives and livelihood of the working people in total jeopardy, the Joint Platform of Central Trade Unions and Sectoral Federations places and reiterates the following demands for urgent positive action from your end:

  1. Ramp up vaccine production and ensure universal free vaccination within a definite time frame. Ensure free supply of oxygen in the crises as in present situation.

  2. Ensure adequate hospital beds, oxygen and other medical facilities to meet the Covid surge

  3. Scrap anti-people discriminatory pro-corporate Vaccine Policy

  4. Strengthen public health infrastructure including recruiting the necessary health personnel

  5. Any order under Disaster Management Act issued by any authority imposing restrictions in movement, curfew etc. must accompany strict order on all employers and all concerned banning retrenchment, wage-cut and eviction from residences etc and same must be strictly enforced.

  6. Scrap anti-worker Labour Codes and anti-people Farm Laws and Electricity Bill

  7. Stop Privatisation and Disinvestment of PSUs and Government departments

  8. Cash transfer of Rs 7,500 per month for all non income tax paying families

  9. 10 kg free food grains per person per month for the next six months

  10. Ensure non Covid patients get effective treatment in government hospitals

  11. Ensure availability of protective gear, equipments etc for all health and frontline workers and those engaged in pandemic-management work including ASHAs and Anganwadi employees along with comprehensive insurance coverage for them all.

Yours Sincerely,

Sanjeev Reddy_INTUC.bmp
  INTUC 

Amarjeer Kaur_AITUC.bmp

AITUC  

Sindhu_HMS.bmp
HMS 

Tapan Sen_CITU.bmp

CITU   


AIUTUC

SHiv Shankar_TUCC.jpg
TUCC   

Manali_Sewa.bmp
SEWA

Rajiv Dimari_AICCTU.bmp
AICCTU

LPF.tif
  LPF   

Ashok Ghosh_UTUC.bmp
       UTUC

And Sectoral Federations and Associations

Letter from Central Trade Unions to the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi 

Trade union

After a meeting of the Joint Platform of Central Trade Unions a sharply worded letter to the prime minister enumerates his failures to anticipate and tackle the second surge of the Covid-19 pandemic, and urges a more democratic policy on vaccines and medical equipment.

The entire text of the letter may be read here:

April 28, 2021

To 

Shri Narendra Modi 

Hon’ble Prime Minister 

Government of India,

New Delhi 

 

Sir,

The nation is in the grip of the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic and it is your responsibility, as the head of the executive, to cement a proactive unity of all our people and to meet the challenge posed by this calamity. 

It is necessary for all sections to feel your government is taking care of them, especially the toiling masses, who are forced to leave their homes in search of livelihood. They suffered untold miseries last year as a result of sudden lock down, and their plight continues to this day.

Frontline workers, Anganwadi Workers, ASHA, sanitation workers who have to deal with survey of Covid-19 patients and to clear their refuse, have been burdened with work and have been given fake promises of compensation. They cannot be treated like this by the government itself. 

What we unfortunately see is a complete lack of planning, callous, discriminatory policies and despicable blame game launched by your party to de-stabilise non-BJP state governments, when the need of the hour is proactive unity as stated in the beginning of this representation.

In the midst of this, the vaccine policy announced by the government puts corporate profits above the precious lives of people. Today, it is crucial to strictly regulate, under direct government supervision, the entire vaccination process to ensure that the entire population is vaccinated within a definite time frame. Vaccine production must be urgently scaled up; it must be imported as necessary. But the government is succumbing to the profit hungry international drug mafia and liberalised vaccine sales. The new vaccine policy liberalises the vaccine sale by deregulating the prices through a discriminatory process that too without taking any concrete measures for augmenting availability.

The policy that the state governments have to procure the vaccines from the open market with higher price of Rs 400/Rs 600 per dose as announced by the two vaccine companies in India. They will be thrown into unhealthy competition with each other, and also with the private sector hospitals which are also free to procure the vaccines at Rs 600/ Rs 1200. It is atrocious that the Serum Institute has announced Rs 400 per dose of vaccine for the state governments and Rs 600 for private hospitals in India. It may be noted that Covishield is priced at 1.78 Euro (Rs 160) in Europe and at $4 (Rs 300) in the US and Bangladesh, at Rs.237 in Brazil, at Rs. 226 in UK.   

This pro-corporate deregulation on vaccine and other essential ingredients of pandemic management will further facilitate hoarding and black marketing which is already going on in case of essential medicines like Remdesivir and even oxygen! The Joint Platform of Central Trade Unions and Federations demands the government to withdraw the new pro-corporate as well as discriminatory vaccine policy and take immediate measures to ensure 100% procurement of the vaccine, adequate supply of vaccines to the states, free of cost, utilising the PMCARES Fund. The Govt, sufficiently empowered by Disaster Management Act must not abdicate its responsibility of prioritising protection of the lives of the people during this grave pandemic, over profiteering by vaccine-pharmaceutical barons.

The joint platform of trade unions point out that it is the public sector companies that are, as ever, coming to the rescue of the nation in this critical situation. It is the public sector steel companies that are producing and supplying oxygen; it is the Indian Railways that is transporting Oxygen to the needy states. We also remind the government that it was the public sector financial institutions in our country that have protected the country against the 2008 world crisis.

The joint platform of trade unions demand that the government must immediately stop its mindless privatisation drive. We demand that immediate measures be taken to strengthen the existing public sector medicine and oxygen production units which are already playing a frontline role in producing/supplying oxygen and other necessities and establish new ones to ensure universal and comprehensive public health care. The defense production facilities should be put in use as they had been in the earlier wave and had done commendable job.

Ever since the first wave of the pandemic, you have used the consequent curbs as pretext to push through many anti-worker, anti-farmer legislations, unconstitutional and discriminatory legislations such as CAA, the New Education Policy and rank pro-corporate measures such as tax concessions for them, wholesale privatisation of public sector entities of financial, manufacturing, power, defence, transport sectors, the launch of opaque PMCARES fund. All on the basis of your majority in the Parliament.

Nearly the entire toiling masses are expressing their opposition to these measures, but you have shown scant regard for meaningful dialogue with any of the sectors involved.

The obvious taming of watchdog agencies created by our Constitution as well as the media (social, electronic as well as print) has led to your government being labelled "elected autocracy" in the democratic world.

We demand therefore that 4 labour codes and 3 farm laws be repealed immediately and thereafter enter into genuine dialogue with the stakeholders.

Further at this crucial juncture of speedily unfolding humanitarian crisis, throwing lives and livelihood of the working people in total jeopardy, the Joint Platform of Central Trade Unions and Sectoral Federations places and reiterates the following demands for urgent positive action from your end:

  1. Ramp up vaccine production and ensure universal free vaccination within a definite time frame. Ensure free supply of oxygen in the crises as in present situation.

  2. Ensure adequate hospital beds, oxygen and other medical facilities to meet the Covid surge

  3. Scrap anti-people discriminatory pro-corporate Vaccine Policy

  4. Strengthen public health infrastructure including recruiting the necessary health personnel

  5. Any order under Disaster Management Act issued by any authority imposing restrictions in movement, curfew etc. must accompany strict order on all employers and all concerned banning retrenchment, wage-cut and eviction from residences etc and same must be strictly enforced.

  6. Scrap anti-worker Labour Codes and anti-people Farm Laws and Electricity Bill

  7. Stop Privatisation and Disinvestment of PSUs and Government departments

  8. Cash transfer of Rs 7,500 per month for all non income tax paying families

  9. 10 kg free food grains per person per month for the next six months

  10. Ensure non Covid patients get effective treatment in government hospitals

  11. Ensure availability of protective gear, equipments etc for all health and frontline workers and those engaged in pandemic-management work including ASHAs and Anganwadi employees along with comprehensive insurance coverage for them all.

Yours Sincerely,

Sanjeev Reddy_INTUC.bmp
  INTUC 

Amarjeer Kaur_AITUC.bmp

AITUC  

Sindhu_HMS.bmp
HMS 

Tapan Sen_CITU.bmp

CITU   


AIUTUC

SHiv Shankar_TUCC.jpg
TUCC   

Manali_Sewa.bmp
SEWA

Rajiv Dimari_AICCTU.bmp
AICCTU

LPF.tif
  LPF   

Ashok Ghosh_UTUC.bmp
       UTUC

And Sectoral Federations and Associations

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Mahapanchayats at Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada and Ongole in Andhra Pradesh

At Vizag, workers condemned the government plan to sell Vizag Steel that was established after much struggle

24 Apr 2021

Thousands of peasants and workers observed mahapanchayats at Visakhapatnam (Vizag), Vijayawada and Ongole in Andhra Pradesh on April 18 and 19, 2021. These programmes were decided weeks ago, prior to the alarming rise in Covid-19 cases.

All three events were presided over by All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) State Convenor and former State Agriculture Minister Vadde Shobhanadreeshwar Rao and addressed by Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) Spokesperson Rakesh Tikait and others. Leaders blew conches for upcoming struggle, a traditional practice called ‘shankharavam’.

At Visakhapatnam, the rally took place at the beach with over 10,000 protesters, including a large number of women. Members of the Vizag Steel Protection Struggle Committee jointly organised the event wherein they condemned the central government's decision on January 27 for a strategic 100 percent sale of Vizag Steel, the public sector pride of the state. The steel plant with over 35,000 workers was set up after much struggle and sacrifice.

“The plant, worth over Rs. 3 lakh crore, is sought to be sold by the Modi regime to its corporates for just around Rs 1,300 crore,” claimed a leader during the rally.

All major trade unions, along with major farmers’ organisations and political parties except the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), led a massive state-wide struggle against the privatisation of Vizag Steel for the last three months, including a total Andhra Bandh.

Speakers stressed that the struggle for Vizag Steel is a national struggle against the BJP-RSS-Modi regime that is out to sell India through its privatisation drive. They also said that the Centre is attacking workers, peasants and agricultural workers, who produce the wealth of the country, through farm laws and labour codes. In a show of solidarity, farmer leaders visited the Vizag Steel and addressed workers there.

Later, on April 19, the AIKSCC organised the Vijayawada rally in a hall with physical distancing. Farmer leaders inaugurated a specially made exhibition on Delhi farmers’ struggle. Apart from peasants and workers, middle-class employees and youth participated in large numbers. A delegation of women farmers from Amaravati district met leaders and submitted a memorandum about their serious problems. They have been struggling for the last 500 days.

Then at Ongole, farmers assembled in the afternoon with enthusiastic response. The highlight was a series of caricatures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and billionaire businessman Ambani that were put up at the venue. Songs and dances by agitators enlivened the events.

Related:

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Kisan Shaheed Smarak: How artists contributed to the farmers’ movement

Mahapanchayats at Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada and Ongole in Andhra Pradesh

At Vizag, workers condemned the government plan to sell Vizag Steel that was established after much struggle

Thousands of peasants and workers observed mahapanchayats at Visakhapatnam (Vizag), Vijayawada and Ongole in Andhra Pradesh on April 18 and 19, 2021. These programmes were decided weeks ago, prior to the alarming rise in Covid-19 cases.

All three events were presided over by All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) State Convenor and former State Agriculture Minister Vadde Shobhanadreeshwar Rao and addressed by Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) Spokesperson Rakesh Tikait and others. Leaders blew conches for upcoming struggle, a traditional practice called ‘shankharavam’.

At Visakhapatnam, the rally took place at the beach with over 10,000 protesters, including a large number of women. Members of the Vizag Steel Protection Struggle Committee jointly organised the event wherein they condemned the central government's decision on January 27 for a strategic 100 percent sale of Vizag Steel, the public sector pride of the state. The steel plant with over 35,000 workers was set up after much struggle and sacrifice.

“The plant, worth over Rs. 3 lakh crore, is sought to be sold by the Modi regime to its corporates for just around Rs 1,300 crore,” claimed a leader during the rally.

All major trade unions, along with major farmers’ organisations and political parties except the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), led a massive state-wide struggle against the privatisation of Vizag Steel for the last three months, including a total Andhra Bandh.

Speakers stressed that the struggle for Vizag Steel is a national struggle against the BJP-RSS-Modi regime that is out to sell India through its privatisation drive. They also said that the Centre is attacking workers, peasants and agricultural workers, who produce the wealth of the country, through farm laws and labour codes. In a show of solidarity, farmer leaders visited the Vizag Steel and addressed workers there.

Later, on April 19, the AIKSCC organised the Vijayawada rally in a hall with physical distancing. Farmer leaders inaugurated a specially made exhibition on Delhi farmers’ struggle. Apart from peasants and workers, middle-class employees and youth participated in large numbers. A delegation of women farmers from Amaravati district met leaders and submitted a memorandum about their serious problems. They have been struggling for the last 500 days.

Then at Ongole, farmers assembled in the afternoon with enthusiastic response. The highlight was a series of caricatures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and billionaire businessman Ambani that were put up at the venue. Songs and dances by agitators enlivened the events.

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Invitation to migrant workers, a step against govt’s failure to help citizens: SKM
Pictures of labourers’ migration may be the future of India’s farmer: SKM
SKM announces Operation Shakti in response to govt’s Operation Clean
Kisan Shaheed Smarak: How artists contributed to the farmers’ movement

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Invitation to migrant workers, a step against govt’s failure to help citizens: SKM

Stating that farmers are returning to the border after the conclusion of the harvest season, the SKM said workers are welcome to seek refuge at protest points where food and shelter is available.

23 Apr 2021

SKMRepresentation Image | PTI
 

The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) asserted that its invitation to migrant workers will stand regardless of the large farmers’ convoy heading for Delhi border protest sites on April 23, 2021, following harvest season.

“Let no one be under the misunderstanding that this is to boost numbers of protestors at Delhi borders. The invitation to migrant workers is because farmers, as India’s annadaatas, understand the distress of workers,” said SKM leader Darshan Pal.

Members warned workers that the central government was insensitive to peasants’ needs. Farmers said workers may not be able to find employment in villages either. In light of this, farmer leaders offered temporary food and shelter at protest sites where there is no fear of infection.

“Once a semblance of normalcy is restored, migrant workers can get back to their employment sites, and by this, can save on unnecessary travel costs. Incidentally, farmers’ unity with workers will be reinforced,” said Darshan Pal.

Further, the SKM condemned the baseless accusations that protesting farmers have been obstructing oxygen supply to the national capital. Farmers said the police misdirected oxygen supply trucks towards protest sites instead of directing them through the shortest correct route to hospitals.

“It is the government which is to be squarely blamed for barricading roads and obstructing free passage, whereas in all protest sites, farmers have already left such passage for vehicular movement,” said the SKM.

Farmers who previously left Delhi for the wheat harvest headed for Delhi in tractor trolleys from Barwani in Haryana’s Sonepat district. Many women farmers will also be travelling in these trolleys while men prepare for the next season at home.

Earlier, SKM leaders had a detailed meeting with Haryana government officials where the administration agreed to remove barricades on one side of the highway at the Singhu Border, to give free passage to oxygen, ambulance and other such emergency services. Farmers said they offer support in the fight against the corona pandemic in every possible way. Meanwhile, a large deployment of state police attempted to evict farmers at Asoda toll plaza. However, farmers re-occupied the toll plaza after a standoff with the police, said agitators.

Related:

Pictures of labourers’ migration may be the future of India’s farmer: SKM

SKM announces Operation Shakti in response to govt’s Operation Clean

Kisan Shaheed Smarak: How artists contributed to the farmers’ movement

Mr Prime Minister, Please save lives!

Invitation to migrant workers, a step against govt’s failure to help citizens: SKM

Stating that farmers are returning to the border after the conclusion of the harvest season, the SKM said workers are welcome to seek refuge at protest points where food and shelter is available.

SKMRepresentation Image | PTI
 

The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) asserted that its invitation to migrant workers will stand regardless of the large farmers’ convoy heading for Delhi border protest sites on April 23, 2021, following harvest season.

“Let no one be under the misunderstanding that this is to boost numbers of protestors at Delhi borders. The invitation to migrant workers is because farmers, as India’s annadaatas, understand the distress of workers,” said SKM leader Darshan Pal.

Members warned workers that the central government was insensitive to peasants’ needs. Farmers said workers may not be able to find employment in villages either. In light of this, farmer leaders offered temporary food and shelter at protest sites where there is no fear of infection.

“Once a semblance of normalcy is restored, migrant workers can get back to their employment sites, and by this, can save on unnecessary travel costs. Incidentally, farmers’ unity with workers will be reinforced,” said Darshan Pal.

Further, the SKM condemned the baseless accusations that protesting farmers have been obstructing oxygen supply to the national capital. Farmers said the police misdirected oxygen supply trucks towards protest sites instead of directing them through the shortest correct route to hospitals.

“It is the government which is to be squarely blamed for barricading roads and obstructing free passage, whereas in all protest sites, farmers have already left such passage for vehicular movement,” said the SKM.

Farmers who previously left Delhi for the wheat harvest headed for Delhi in tractor trolleys from Barwani in Haryana’s Sonepat district. Many women farmers will also be travelling in these trolleys while men prepare for the next season at home.

Earlier, SKM leaders had a detailed meeting with Haryana government officials where the administration agreed to remove barricades on one side of the highway at the Singhu Border, to give free passage to oxygen, ambulance and other such emergency services. Farmers said they offer support in the fight against the corona pandemic in every possible way. Meanwhile, a large deployment of state police attempted to evict farmers at Asoda toll plaza. However, farmers re-occupied the toll plaza after a standoff with the police, said agitators.

Related:

Pictures of labourers’ migration may be the future of India’s farmer: SKM

SKM announces Operation Shakti in response to govt’s Operation Clean

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Mr Prime Minister, Please save lives!

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Pictures of labourers’ migration may be the future of India’s farmer: SKM

Condemning BJP IT Cell lies that farmers are worsening the Covid-19 crisis in India, farmers welcomed workers to rest at protest sites during lockdown rather than returning home.

22 Apr 2021

MigrantsImage: Facebook / Kisan Ekta Morcha
 

Shortly after farmers leaders’ offer of refuge for India’s workers at protest sites, farmers and activists near Ghazipur border began making and distributing food packets at bus stands and railway stations in Delhi.

As per a press release on April 21, 2021, protesters also handed food packages to migrant laborers at Anand Vihar bus base on the previous day. According to Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) Spokesperson Paramjeet Singh Katyal, protest sites have plenty of food and hut-like structures for both protesters and migrant workers.

“The call was given by farmer leaders Rakesh Tikait and Gurnam Singh Chaduni. We have plenty of space and relief material, so we decided to invite city’s workers, who are again planning to return home. At the same time, around six thousand women have assembled at the Tikri border. Protest sites are slowly regaining their strength,” he said.

SKM leader Darshan Pal condemned the central government for blaming farmers for the worsening coronavirus conditions while there are reports of long journeys by migrant laborers across India. He blamed the neoliberal policies of the government that include the three contentious farm laws.

“The result of open market and privatization policies is that today thousands of millions of laborers are wandering in cities for cheap wages. Instead of strengthening the farming sector, the government wants to create cheap laborers in cities by creating a farming crisis, but now the peasant laborers will fight back against these policies at all costs,” he said.

The SKM also alleged that the BJP IT cell was spreading the lie that farmers stopped oxygen trucks and other essentials at Delhi borders. The SKM condemned such claims and reminded that in this battle of existence, farmers are fighting with Covid-19 as well as the government.

Further, members said that farmers have opened avenues for essential services from the first day of protest.

“The biggest barricade imposed by the government is the biggest barrier. We appeal to the government to break the lockout of Delhi so that no one has any problem. The government is running away from its responsibility in the fight against Covid-19 but on humanitarian grounds the farmer is with citizens,” said the SKM.

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SKM announces Operation Shakti in response to govt’s Operation Clean

Government should fight Corona, not farmers and labourers: SKM

Tents of protesting farmers allegdly set on fire at Singhu and Ghazipur borders!

Kisan Shaheed Smarak: A memorial to those who died during the nationwide farmers' protest

Pictures of labourers’ migration may be the future of India’s farmer: SKM

Condemning BJP IT Cell lies that farmers are worsening the Covid-19 crisis in India, farmers welcomed workers to rest at protest sites during lockdown rather than returning home.

MigrantsImage: Facebook / Kisan Ekta Morcha
 

Shortly after farmers leaders’ offer of refuge for India’s workers at protest sites, farmers and activists near Ghazipur border began making and distributing food packets at bus stands and railway stations in Delhi.

As per a press release on April 21, 2021, protesters also handed food packages to migrant laborers at Anand Vihar bus base on the previous day. According to Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) Spokesperson Paramjeet Singh Katyal, protest sites have plenty of food and hut-like structures for both protesters and migrant workers.

“The call was given by farmer leaders Rakesh Tikait and Gurnam Singh Chaduni. We have plenty of space and relief material, so we decided to invite city’s workers, who are again planning to return home. At the same time, around six thousand women have assembled at the Tikri border. Protest sites are slowly regaining their strength,” he said.

SKM leader Darshan Pal condemned the central government for blaming farmers for the worsening coronavirus conditions while there are reports of long journeys by migrant laborers across India. He blamed the neoliberal policies of the government that include the three contentious farm laws.

“The result of open market and privatization policies is that today thousands of millions of laborers are wandering in cities for cheap wages. Instead of strengthening the farming sector, the government wants to create cheap laborers in cities by creating a farming crisis, but now the peasant laborers will fight back against these policies at all costs,” he said.

The SKM also alleged that the BJP IT cell was spreading the lie that farmers stopped oxygen trucks and other essentials at Delhi borders. The SKM condemned such claims and reminded that in this battle of existence, farmers are fighting with Covid-19 as well as the government.

Further, members said that farmers have opened avenues for essential services from the first day of protest.

“The biggest barricade imposed by the government is the biggest barrier. We appeal to the government to break the lockout of Delhi so that no one has any problem. The government is running away from its responsibility in the fight against Covid-19 but on humanitarian grounds the farmer is with citizens,” said the SKM.

Related:

SKM announces Operation Shakti in response to govt’s Operation Clean

Government should fight Corona, not farmers and labourers: SKM

Tents of protesting farmers allegdly set on fire at Singhu and Ghazipur borders!

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Before curfew, Delhi govt must ensure food for city’s daily wagers: IFTU

Pointing out that both central and Delhi governments failed daily wage workers in terms of relief during the 2020 lockdown, trade unions demanded adequate provisions for the working-class sections.

21 Apr 2021

Migrants


The Delhi government should throw open community centres to distribute cooked food for working class colonies and schools, said the International Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU) in the wake of the recent week-long curfew announcement.

In a press release sent on April 19, IFTU President Animesh Das demanded one-month free rations to every card holder, a cash transfer of Rs. 5,000 – via welfare boards – to every one of the thousands of construction workers recently registered.

“The city administration must ensure that workers in shops, malls, industries and private offices in Delhi are paid wages for the curfew period. The government can financially aid employers to do so but workers must receive full wages and labour departments must enforce the same,” he said.

The workers’ union pointed out that the call for a curfew from April 19 to April 26 is going to badly affect pregnant women, private industrial workers, shops and mall workers, redi-patri hawkers, daily wage workers, domestic employees and non-live-in construction-site workers.

 Earlier, the Delhi High Court on Monday directed the Delhi government to provide foods, medicines and other necessities to daily wagers at their work site and to use mid-day meal service providers for the same. The court pointed out that in 2020, the Delhi government had “failed to utilize thousands of crores of rupees… which is available with the Board… and which has been collected as Building cess for construction workers.”

The IFTU said that even after the week-long curfew declaration, neither the central government or the Delhi administration announced relief for these groups. During the previous lockdown, 99 percent of these sections received no wages despite promises by authorities.

“For the 25 lakh workers in Delhi, the pandemic is less serious than the problems they have to face in such curfews and lockdowns. This is what made so many of them flee back home on foot last year, leading to loss of hundreds of lives,” said Das.

While Chief Minister Arwind Kejriwal said that the move was announced to break the chain of mounting number of Covid-19 cases, the IFTU condemned the government for failing in medical preparations in anticipation of the expected second wave of the pandemic. Further, it also criticised the central government for allowing events like kumbh mela and election meetings that stretched over a month countrywide.

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Before curfew, Delhi govt must ensure food for city’s daily wagers: IFTU

Pointing out that both central and Delhi governments failed daily wage workers in terms of relief during the 2020 lockdown, trade unions demanded adequate provisions for the working-class sections.

Migrants


The Delhi government should throw open community centres to distribute cooked food for working class colonies and schools, said the International Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU) in the wake of the recent week-long curfew announcement.

In a press release sent on April 19, IFTU President Animesh Das demanded one-month free rations to every card holder, a cash transfer of Rs. 5,000 – via welfare boards – to every one of the thousands of construction workers recently registered.

“The city administration must ensure that workers in shops, malls, industries and private offices in Delhi are paid wages for the curfew period. The government can financially aid employers to do so but workers must receive full wages and labour departments must enforce the same,” he said.

The workers’ union pointed out that the call for a curfew from April 19 to April 26 is going to badly affect pregnant women, private industrial workers, shops and mall workers, redi-patri hawkers, daily wage workers, domestic employees and non-live-in construction-site workers.

 Earlier, the Delhi High Court on Monday directed the Delhi government to provide foods, medicines and other necessities to daily wagers at their work site and to use mid-day meal service providers for the same. The court pointed out that in 2020, the Delhi government had “failed to utilize thousands of crores of rupees… which is available with the Board… and which has been collected as Building cess for construction workers.”

The IFTU said that even after the week-long curfew declaration, neither the central government or the Delhi administration announced relief for these groups. During the previous lockdown, 99 percent of these sections received no wages despite promises by authorities.

“For the 25 lakh workers in Delhi, the pandemic is less serious than the problems they have to face in such curfews and lockdowns. This is what made so many of them flee back home on foot last year, leading to loss of hundreds of lives,” said Das.

While Chief Minister Arwind Kejriwal said that the move was announced to break the chain of mounting number of Covid-19 cases, the IFTU condemned the government for failing in medical preparations in anticipation of the expected second wave of the pandemic. Further, it also criticised the central government for allowing events like kumbh mela and election meetings that stretched over a month countrywide.

Related:

Delhi HC directs state gov't to provide meals to daily wage workers

Covid-19: Lockdown imposed in Delhi till April 26

SKM announces Operation Shakti in response to govt’s Operation Clean

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Shocks the judicial conscience: Odisha HC on death of four manual scavengers

The High Court has directed Rs. 10 lakh compensation to manual scavengers’ family who died due to asphyxiation

20 Apr 2021

Odisha
Image: https://ommcomnews.com


“The shameful practice of making persons belonging to the underprivileged and poorest sections of Indian society undertake the hazardous manual cleaning of sewers and septic tanks continues unabated notwithstanding the enactment of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013. It shocks the judicial conscience, as it should the society’s collective conscience”, said the Odisha High Court in a suo motu case related to the death of two young men in Cuttack, during manual scavenging on April 15.

The court referred to an Indian Express report and said, “The condition of the third worker was critical. Reportedly, one of the sanitation workers entered the sewer line, which was over 15 feet deep, became unconscious inside the tank due to asphyxiation. Two other sanitation workers went inside to rescue him, but they too fell unconscious. The three were brought out with the help of firefighters and rushed to the SCB Medical College & Hospital, Cuttack. The hospital authorities declared two of them, Bishnu Naik of Badamba and T. Prabhakar of Pattapol area of Cuttack, dead, whereas the third one, S. Siba Rao was stated to be receiving treatment.”

The Bench comprising Chief Justice Dr. S Muralidhar and Justice BP Routray cited another incident when two sanitation workers, Sunaram Sardar (55) hailing from Jharkhand and Silup Birua (25) from Mayurbhanj engaged in the maintenance of a sewage tank at Brahmeswar Bagh area under Badagada police limits in the city and died of asphyxiation on March 19.

The Bench remarked, “It is inexplicable that a democratic country governed by the Constitution, the Preamble to which assures to all Indians social justice, equality of status and of opportunity, fraternity assuring the dignity of the individual, should witness, and condone, in the 21st century, the deplorable practice of making humans enter sewer lines and septic tanks that require cleaning, without protective gear, and in that process sacrifice their lives for the better health of their fellow beings.

The court opined that when Article 17, that abolishes the practice of untouchability, was introduced, it was with the hope that the practice of untouchability in general and manual scavenging in particular would not continue in a free and independent India.

The High Court has taken cognisance of the fact that the Secretary, Housing & Urban Development Department, has ordered a joint probe into the Cuttack incident by the Deputy Commissioner (Enforcement), Cuttack Municipal Corporation and the Sadar Tahsildar, Cuttack. “Further it appears that the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has called for a report on the incident at Bhubaneswar”, said the court.

As the court took suo motu notice of the tragic deaths of the sanitation workers, it has announced compensation of Rs.10 lakhs each to be given to the families of the deceased workers. The Court is also set to examine the various legal issues that arise from such incidents, including the applicability of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 and the Rules thereunder, in case the manual scavenger belongs to these castes.

The Bench has further issued a notice to State of Odisha, Housing and Urban Development Department, Government of Odisha, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribe Welfare Department, Government of Odisha, Public Health Engineering Organization, Government of Odisha, Collector, Cuttack, Collector, Khurda at Bhubaneswar, Cuttack Municipal Corporation, Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation and the LC Infra Project Private Limited  that is engaged in the maintenance works of the sewage tanks in the city of Bhubaneswar.

The State has been asked to file an affidavit before the next date of hearing, listing out the steps it has taken thus far to implement, in letter and spirit, the various provisions of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 and the Rules thereunder, as well as the Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993.

The matter will be heard on May 10, 2021.

The order may be read here: 

 

Related:

Death by excreta: The cursed lives of India's manual scavengers

Death of manual scavengers: Karnataka HC takes note of the grim situation

K’taka HC questions State on steps taken to use modern technology to replace manual scavenging

PIL filed for implementation of Manual Scavengers Act, Allahabad HC seeks State’s reply

Shocks the judicial conscience: Odisha HC on death of four manual scavengers

The High Court has directed Rs. 10 lakh compensation to manual scavengers’ family who died due to asphyxiation

Odisha
Image: https://ommcomnews.com


“The shameful practice of making persons belonging to the underprivileged and poorest sections of Indian society undertake the hazardous manual cleaning of sewers and septic tanks continues unabated notwithstanding the enactment of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013. It shocks the judicial conscience, as it should the society’s collective conscience”, said the Odisha High Court in a suo motu case related to the death of two young men in Cuttack, during manual scavenging on April 15.

The court referred to an Indian Express report and said, “The condition of the third worker was critical. Reportedly, one of the sanitation workers entered the sewer line, which was over 15 feet deep, became unconscious inside the tank due to asphyxiation. Two other sanitation workers went inside to rescue him, but they too fell unconscious. The three were brought out with the help of firefighters and rushed to the SCB Medical College & Hospital, Cuttack. The hospital authorities declared two of them, Bishnu Naik of Badamba and T. Prabhakar of Pattapol area of Cuttack, dead, whereas the third one, S. Siba Rao was stated to be receiving treatment.”

The Bench comprising Chief Justice Dr. S Muralidhar and Justice BP Routray cited another incident when two sanitation workers, Sunaram Sardar (55) hailing from Jharkhand and Silup Birua (25) from Mayurbhanj engaged in the maintenance of a sewage tank at Brahmeswar Bagh area under Badagada police limits in the city and died of asphyxiation on March 19.

The Bench remarked, “It is inexplicable that a democratic country governed by the Constitution, the Preamble to which assures to all Indians social justice, equality of status and of opportunity, fraternity assuring the dignity of the individual, should witness, and condone, in the 21st century, the deplorable practice of making humans enter sewer lines and septic tanks that require cleaning, without protective gear, and in that process sacrifice their lives for the better health of their fellow beings.

The court opined that when Article 17, that abolishes the practice of untouchability, was introduced, it was with the hope that the practice of untouchability in general and manual scavenging in particular would not continue in a free and independent India.

The High Court has taken cognisance of the fact that the Secretary, Housing & Urban Development Department, has ordered a joint probe into the Cuttack incident by the Deputy Commissioner (Enforcement), Cuttack Municipal Corporation and the Sadar Tahsildar, Cuttack. “Further it appears that the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has called for a report on the incident at Bhubaneswar”, said the court.

As the court took suo motu notice of the tragic deaths of the sanitation workers, it has announced compensation of Rs.10 lakhs each to be given to the families of the deceased workers. The Court is also set to examine the various legal issues that arise from such incidents, including the applicability of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 and the Rules thereunder, in case the manual scavenger belongs to these castes.

The Bench has further issued a notice to State of Odisha, Housing and Urban Development Department, Government of Odisha, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribe Welfare Department, Government of Odisha, Public Health Engineering Organization, Government of Odisha, Collector, Cuttack, Collector, Khurda at Bhubaneswar, Cuttack Municipal Corporation, Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation and the LC Infra Project Private Limited  that is engaged in the maintenance works of the sewage tanks in the city of Bhubaneswar.

The State has been asked to file an affidavit before the next date of hearing, listing out the steps it has taken thus far to implement, in letter and spirit, the various provisions of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 and the Rules thereunder, as well as the Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993.

The matter will be heard on May 10, 2021.

The order may be read here: 

 

Related:

Death by excreta: The cursed lives of India's manual scavengers

Death of manual scavengers: Karnataka HC takes note of the grim situation

K’taka HC questions State on steps taken to use modern technology to replace manual scavenging

PIL filed for implementation of Manual Scavengers Act, Allahabad HC seeks State’s reply

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Delhi HC directs state gov't to provide meals to daily wage workers

The court also directed the government to inform availability of beds, oxygen

20 Apr 2021

Hunger
Representation Image | Deccan Herald
 

As Delhi recorded over 25,000 new cases of Covid-19, the Delhi high Court has taken note of a few key issues being faced by people in the capital. The court was hearing a plea filed by Advocate Rakesh Malhotra over shortage of oxygen to critical patients and the building pressure on testing labs for submitting Covid test reports within 24 hours.

The Division bench of Justices Rekha Palli and Vipin Sanghi has directed the Delhi government to provide foods, medicines and other necessities to daily wagers at their worksite and to use the service of mid-day meal service providers for the same. The court pointed out that daily wage workers are once again faced with the grim reality of facing shortage of even basic necessities such as food, clothing and medication and that the NCT government, in 2020, had “failed to utilize thousands of crores of rupees they are sitting on, which is available with the Board constituted under the Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996 and which has been collected as Building cess for construction workers.”

While the petitioner highlighted that the labs were under immense pressure as they were testing at least 700 people per day per lab, the government counsel defended the decision stating that if the government does not put limits, some will take advantage of the situation, the test results will spill over to the third or fourth day. Adv Malhotra said that he was not blaming the government but the time given to labs should be extended to 48 hours. The proposed ban on labs being unable to deliver results within 24 hours appeared to be unreasonable.

The court also questioned this decision of the government and said, “If such a threat is actually issued, is this the way to deal with it? What does the doctor have to gain of this? He has to produce 1,000 reports per day, otherwise the system will choke,” reported LiveLaw.

“It appears the GNCTD is being unreasonable, and is unmindful of the limitations of men, infrastructure and equipment available to deal with the massive surge in Covid-19 positive cases… It does not serve the interest of any such lab to delay the reports- deliberately, or negligently. We, therefore, make it clear that any such direction issued shall not be implemented,” the court stated

The court, however, emphasised that the labs should continue to work efficiently and diligently and deliver reports at the earliest humanly possible.

Addressing the concern raised over oxygen supply, the government counsel, Rahul Mehra stated that the government had prepared a schedule for ensuring supply of 300 MT oxygen per day and that would be extended to 700 MT per day and that the Chief Minister has already written to the Union Minister for Power in this regard. The court has asked the Ministry to look into it on an urgent basis.

The court has directed the Central government to examine the availability of oxygen in different states in the country in the context of the spread of the pandemic so that oxygen could be made available to the areas where it is most required

The court has directed both, Central and state governments to clarify via affidavit availability of beds with and without ventilators, as well as availability of oxygen by April 20.

The complete order may be read here:

 

Related:

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Delhi HC directs state gov't to provide meals to daily wage workers

The court also directed the government to inform availability of beds, oxygen

Hunger
Representation Image | Deccan Herald
 

As Delhi recorded over 25,000 new cases of Covid-19, the Delhi high Court has taken note of a few key issues being faced by people in the capital. The court was hearing a plea filed by Advocate Rakesh Malhotra over shortage of oxygen to critical patients and the building pressure on testing labs for submitting Covid test reports within 24 hours.

The Division bench of Justices Rekha Palli and Vipin Sanghi has directed the Delhi government to provide foods, medicines and other necessities to daily wagers at their worksite and to use the service of mid-day meal service providers for the same. The court pointed out that daily wage workers are once again faced with the grim reality of facing shortage of even basic necessities such as food, clothing and medication and that the NCT government, in 2020, had “failed to utilize thousands of crores of rupees they are sitting on, which is available with the Board constituted under the Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996 and which has been collected as Building cess for construction workers.”

While the petitioner highlighted that the labs were under immense pressure as they were testing at least 700 people per day per lab, the government counsel defended the decision stating that if the government does not put limits, some will take advantage of the situation, the test results will spill over to the third or fourth day. Adv Malhotra said that he was not blaming the government but the time given to labs should be extended to 48 hours. The proposed ban on labs being unable to deliver results within 24 hours appeared to be unreasonable.

The court also questioned this decision of the government and said, “If such a threat is actually issued, is this the way to deal with it? What does the doctor have to gain of this? He has to produce 1,000 reports per day, otherwise the system will choke,” reported LiveLaw.

“It appears the GNCTD is being unreasonable, and is unmindful of the limitations of men, infrastructure and equipment available to deal with the massive surge in Covid-19 positive cases… It does not serve the interest of any such lab to delay the reports- deliberately, or negligently. We, therefore, make it clear that any such direction issued shall not be implemented,” the court stated

The court, however, emphasised that the labs should continue to work efficiently and diligently and deliver reports at the earliest humanly possible.

Addressing the concern raised over oxygen supply, the government counsel, Rahul Mehra stated that the government had prepared a schedule for ensuring supply of 300 MT oxygen per day and that would be extended to 700 MT per day and that the Chief Minister has already written to the Union Minister for Power in this regard. The court has asked the Ministry to look into it on an urgent basis.

The court has directed the Central government to examine the availability of oxygen in different states in the country in the context of the spread of the pandemic so that oxygen could be made available to the areas where it is most required

The court has directed both, Central and state governments to clarify via affidavit availability of beds with and without ventilators, as well as availability of oxygen by April 20.

The complete order may be read here:

 

Related:

State courts revert to virtual hearings amid Covid-19 surge

Manmohan Singh offers advice to PM Modi on how to fight Covid-19

Declare a national health emergency: Kapil Sibal to PM Modi

 

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Offer better relief package to registered hawkers: Hawkers Union to Maharashtra gov't 

While thanking the government for considering street vendors' concerns during new coronavirus restrictions, Mumbai’s hawkers asked Chief Minister Thackeray to reconsider the relief package.

16 Apr 2021

hAWKERS

Reconsider the financial assistance provided for hawkers during the lockdown period as well as the criteria of those eligible for this assistance, appealed Azad Hawkers Union Chairman Dayashankar Singh on April 16, 2021.

In a letter addressed to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Singh thanked the state government for considering hawkers during April’s lockdown restrictions and announcing a monetary relief package for the same. However, he pointed out that the package of Rs. 1,500 per registered hawker was a meager supply to account for month-long rations. Further, he said that many hawkers also lost out on the packages due to pending surveys of eligible hawkers.

“Small-scale hawkers, who are living on wages, are going to suffer huge losses in this year's layoffs. Their financial losses after the previous lockdown are still not fully recovered. This second lockdown could ruin their lives,” said Singh.

On April 13, the state government under Thackeray announced stricter guidelines in light of rising cases. He mentioned that essential services, including some hawkers will be allowed to continue work. Further, the government will spend at least Rs. 5,200 crore on providing financial assistance to the poor working class.

Under the PM SVANidhi Yojana, Rs. 1,500 will be sent to at least five lakh hawkers in the state. However, as Singh pointed out, the scheme does not account for unregistered hawkers who far outnumber registered street vendors.

The last survey in 2014 declared 17,641 street vendors out of 99,435 applicants eligible for a vending certificate. Outstanding applicants still wait for the day that they receive their certificates under the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014 that recognises receipts of the fee levied on vendors as a valid document to prove their eligibility for a vending certificate.

For this reason, the hawkers group requested the government to consider all hawkers in the public scheme while observing lockdown-like restrictions to address the issue of rising coronavirus cases.

Related:

Maharashtra: How are small businesses surviving new lockdown restrictions?

Give us vending certificates then hold fresh surveys: FSS

India's street vendors are micro-entrepreneurs, yet they struggle for freedom and rights

Lockdown or Unlock: Hawkers struggle to remain 'Atma Nirbhar'

Offer better relief package to registered hawkers: Hawkers Union to Maharashtra gov't 

While thanking the government for considering street vendors' concerns during new coronavirus restrictions, Mumbai’s hawkers asked Chief Minister Thackeray to reconsider the relief package.

hAWKERS

Reconsider the financial assistance provided for hawkers during the lockdown period as well as the criteria of those eligible for this assistance, appealed Azad Hawkers Union Chairman Dayashankar Singh on April 16, 2021.

In a letter addressed to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Singh thanked the state government for considering hawkers during April’s lockdown restrictions and announcing a monetary relief package for the same. However, he pointed out that the package of Rs. 1,500 per registered hawker was a meager supply to account for month-long rations. Further, he said that many hawkers also lost out on the packages due to pending surveys of eligible hawkers.

“Small-scale hawkers, who are living on wages, are going to suffer huge losses in this year's layoffs. Their financial losses after the previous lockdown are still not fully recovered. This second lockdown could ruin their lives,” said Singh.

On April 13, the state government under Thackeray announced stricter guidelines in light of rising cases. He mentioned that essential services, including some hawkers will be allowed to continue work. Further, the government will spend at least Rs. 5,200 crore on providing financial assistance to the poor working class.

Under the PM SVANidhi Yojana, Rs. 1,500 will be sent to at least five lakh hawkers in the state. However, as Singh pointed out, the scheme does not account for unregistered hawkers who far outnumber registered street vendors.

The last survey in 2014 declared 17,641 street vendors out of 99,435 applicants eligible for a vending certificate. Outstanding applicants still wait for the day that they receive their certificates under the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014 that recognises receipts of the fee levied on vendors as a valid document to prove their eligibility for a vending certificate.

For this reason, the hawkers group requested the government to consider all hawkers in the public scheme while observing lockdown-like restrictions to address the issue of rising coronavirus cases.

Related:

Maharashtra: How are small businesses surviving new lockdown restrictions?

Give us vending certificates then hold fresh surveys: FSS

India's street vendors are micro-entrepreneurs, yet they struggle for freedom and rights

Lockdown or Unlock: Hawkers struggle to remain 'Atma Nirbhar'

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