Skip to main content

Permission denied to hold dharna on plight of real estate workers, citing ongoing Gujarat assembly session

A Majur Adhikar Manch protest in December 2013
By Jignesh Mevani*
In a recent decision, the Gujarat police refused permission to hold a public meeting to highlight exploitation of construction workers in Gujarat next to one of the biggest real estate projects of the state coming up on way to Gandhinagar. The letter denying the permission to hold dharna issued by the Gandhinagar police reads, “Since the session of Gujarat Assembly is on, we cannot grant you permission, for it can disturb law and order situation in the state.'' The dharna was planned by the Majur Adhikar Manch, which is affiliated with the Gujarat Federation of Trade Unions.
The dharna was not just meant to protest against the plight of workers at the Adani-sponsored Shantigram project, which was chosen as the site of the protest, but also their brethren across the state. In an answer to a right to information (RTI) application, the Government of Gujarat has said that during 2005-13, a total of 337workers died in the state in accidents at various construction sites. However, only seven of these have so far received compensation from the state-supported welfare board.
The Majur Adhikar Manch had filed an application for permission to hold a public meeting on July 6 at Khoraj over-bridge, next to the Adani Shantigram, which falls in Gandhinagar district, to raise the grievances of workers employed at the site. Spread over 650 acres of land, Adani Shantigram is a mighty project where 20,000 apartments are under construction, apart from golf courses and entertainment parks.
According to sources, more than 6,000 workers, most of them inter-state migrants, are working day and night at the site. Complaints were received that their working conditions are horrible and they do not have basic civic facilities. It is learnt that most of the workers are denied minimum wages and are forced to toil for up to 12 hours a day. Insiders allege, the workers who lost their lives inside the site during work have not been compensated as per the Workers’ Compensation Act.
According to a survey conducted by the Majur Adhikar Manch with the support of the Centre for Labour Research and Action, ''Almost one-forth workers (about 64 percent of them belonging to SC, S and Muslim community) are getting less than Rs.230 per day, the statutory minimum wage for unskilled construction workers in Gujarat. About 29 percent workers are getting between Rs 231 and Rs.300 per day. Thus, more than half the workers are getting less than the minimum Rs 300 per day. The lowest wage rate reported was Rs. 180.”
The Majur Adhikar Manch raised all these issues before the Gujarat government’s labour department and the Adani Group during the last few months, but there appears little change either in working condition of the workers or in payment of wages. The Majur Adhikar Manch even today receives cases of workers who are threatened of dire consequences when they ask for the payment of higher wages.
According to information with the Majur Adhikar Manch, not a single worker is registered with the Gujarat Building and other Construction Workers Welfare Board despite a categorical order from the High Court of Gujarat asking all the private employers and the welfare board to register each and every construction worker, and implement the welfare schemes meant for them. Even a complaint was made regarding this with the Labour Commissioner’s office seeking his intervention in the matter.
The authorities made a site visited and came up with a convenient report which said that there is not a single worker who is denied minimum wages. However, workers have told Majur Adhikar Manch activists that even the workers whom the labour department met to check whether they were given minimum wage were not enrolled with the welfare board of the state government. Board has been set up to collect Rs 500 crore from builders as cess for the benefits of the workers.
---
*Social activist associated with the Majur Adhikar Manch

Comments

TRENDING

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

India sees 62 journo deaths, 4th highest, amidst pandemic: Swiss media rights body

By Our Representative The Switzerland-based media rights body Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) has noted that India is the fourth most affected country as far as mediapersons’ death on account of Covid-19 is concerned. According to Blaise Lempen, secretary-general of PEC, the global tally of casualties among media persons in the Covid-19 pandemic has reached 1,036 journalists in 73 countries till date.

Liberating Bengal Hindus? Worst flames of communal division, lessons from the past

By Shamsul Islam*  The whole thrust of the RSS-BJP election campaign for 2021 state assembly elections in West Bengal has been to save Bengal from the rule of Mamata Bannerjee who is allegedly not a ‘Hindu’. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a self-proclaimed Hindu nationalist, as usual set the polarizing agenda. While addressing the first election rally, he called upon the electorate to overthrow the ‘nirmam’ (cruel) rule of Mamata by showing a ‘Ram Card’. He did not name Hindus directly but there was no confusion about the religious identity of the electorate Indian PM was addressing to.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Pradeep Bhattacharya, who spent his life for the cause of working masses, rational thinking

By YS Gill*  At 11:30 pm on May 3, 2021, I lost my best friend and comrade Pradeep Bhattacharya. He spent his life dedicated to the cause of the working masses and rational thinking. A person of thorough scientific outlook and a well-read student of Marxian thought, he was a walking encyclopedia and could speak on a wide variety of topics from art and culture to science, philosophy, history and politics.

Rs 5 crore 'demand' for India Today anchor: What about 52 lesser souls who died in April?

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  A well known Hindutva protagonist masquerading as journalist passed away recently resulting in messages of condolences and tribute right from the Prime Minister and the Home Minister to progressive liberals expressing grief of his untimely death. It is said that he passed away due to cardiac arrest, though the fact is, he was also Covid infected. The Prime Minister and the Home Minister termed him a ‘brave’ journalist, insisting, his passing away has left a big ‘vacuum’.

Modi's Hindutva 'ensuring' empowerment of rich, disenfranchisement of poor

Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The Hindutva socio-psychopaths are neither nationalists nor patriotic people. These medieval reactionary forces don’t understand the idea of citizenship, justice, liberty, equality and humanism. Indian democracy is merely an electoral transaction for the Hindutva forces. Hindutva forces neither follow science nor understand the sufferings of fellow human beings. These core qualities are common among the Hindutva forces in India.

Communal rhetoric? Hindutva preached by RSS-BJP is 'monolithic', not Hinduism

By Prem Verma*  I am a devout Hindu but not a believer of RSS Hindutva form of Hinduism which brings about hatred of other religions. My Hindu religion has not taught me to look down on other religions and neither has it instilled in me to go about converting others to my religion because my religion is superior.

India's Covid-19 'nightmare': A product of majoritarian Hindutva ideological praxis?

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  Indians struggle to find place and time to bury their dead due to the devastating effects of the second wave of Covid-19 in India. The crematoriums in the capital cities are overflowing with dead bodies. People are dying without oxygen and basic medical support. The cities like Delhi and Mumbai are struggling to cope with the rising number of infections and COVID-19 led deaths. The deaths and destitutions are products of a defunct BJP government led by Narendra Modi.

Indian media persons collapsing to Covid disease as fast as 3 per day, third highest

Yogesh Sharma, Shailesh Rawal  By Our Representative  The Switzerland based media rights and safety body, Press Emblem Campaign ( PEC ) has said that it is “alarming for Indian journalists”, who have lost at least 107 colleagues to Covid-19”, noting, Indian “journo-colleagues” have been collapsing to the Covid-19 complications now as fast as three scribes per day. In a statement, PEC said, “India with 107 media corona-casualties has already placed itself on the third position just below Brazil (181 dead) and Peru (140) in the list of Covid-19 victims among journalist.”