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IIM-A rejects legal notice: Public authorities 'didn't arrange' trains for migrant workers

By Our Representative
In a rejoinder to the legal notice served on the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) director following unrest outside the IIM-A campus IIM-A, in a statement has asserted that the unrest of the workers from the construction site was not about wages and living conditions “but about the delay in obtaining travel permits and the arranging of transportation by the public authorities to take them back to their home states.”
Legal notice, served by senior advocate of the Gujarat High Court Anandvardhan Yagnik “on behalf of migrant workers”, argues that the unrest among the workers, which led to clashes with the police and several detentions, was the result the workers seeking to to go back to their home states, Jharkhand and West Bengal, for the last more than 20 days because they were not paid their “earned wages because of the lockdown.”
Rejecting the allegation, the IIM-A said, “The contractor co-ordinated with the administration for the repatriation of the workers. Workers from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar were provided trains but unfortunately the public authorities did not arrange for trains to Jharkhand and West Bengal.”
It added, “Our interest is in the well-being of the worker unlike the case that is being presented in the legal notice. The issues raised in the notice do not stand the test of scrutiny and yet it is being circulated and being quoted by individuals and the press without regard for the veracity of the details outlined in the notice.”
​The IIM-A said, “All bills raised on us go through a process of certification by our project management consultants, the architect for the project, and our own project manager/engineer and are then paid. We have verified that all due payments have been made to workers. We do not have a pending bill as of the date of the serving of the legal notice.”
Staying in shanties in the Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation (GMDC) Grounds, outside the IIM-A campus, the workers are involved in the construction of a new IIM-A building.
The statement stated, “The restrictions on construction activity were lifted on April 15 and after sanitization of the site and checking the health of the workers construction activity was renewed in phases from April 21.” It added, “By the beginning of May once the government announced its intention and special trains to allow migrants to return to their home’s workers expressed an interest to not continue with work. Work on the construction site stopped by May 7 in deference to the wishes of the workers.”
Rejecting that the workers lived in inhuman conditions, the statement continued, “We invite persons to visit the site where the workers are lodged. The location has all living facilities required for such colonies such as RO water, crèche, sanitation facilities, light/fan, and separate rows of accommodation for families and bachelors. A facility of a doctor for periodic health check-up is also made available.”
It added, “The health authorities have visited the facility where the workers are staying and have taken samples during the last two months. These tests came out negative. People can be asymptomatic for a period of time with no preliminary symptoms such as fever, cough, etc. Workers were regularly checked for symptoms and none were reported.”

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