Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Commonwealth Games: HC notices to govt for 'violation' of labour laws

The Delhi high court today sought a response from the Centre for its alleged failure to provide all thebenefits of labour laws to workers involved in construction work for the coming Commonwealth Games.

A bench headed by chief justice AP Shah issued a notice to the Centre and asked it to file the response by February 3 when the matter would be taken up for further hearing.

The Court passed the order on a PIL filed by civil rights group Peoples Union for Democratic Rights which submitted that the Centre has failed to force private companies to abide by the labour laws.

"The government and its agencies as well as their numerous contractors have got used to the idea that they are not accountable for the working and living conditions and can pass up their responsibility, ignoring the legal requirements.

This has resulted in inhuman conditions for construction workers in Delhi," the advocate, appearing for the group, said.

The rights group pleaded the court should intervene to correct the impression and to bring relief to poor and vulnerable 4,15,000 contract daily wage workers who are working on these projects.

The NGO pleaded there has been rampant violation of labour laws which has come to light when it conducted an inquiry.

It pointed out that minimum wages were not paid to most of the workers and the wages were irregularly paid with considerable delay and with contractor's often withholding part of the wages.

It pointed out that there has been death of several workers at the work site which have not been recorded and the safety equipment were often not made available to workers.

"Wage slips were not given to the workers in accordance with law. As a result, the workers had no proof whatsoever that they were employed and many of the workers were living in rooms, eight persons to a room without doors, without protection during winter, without electricity and without toilets," the petition said.

"The workers who came from Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Punjab were not given the benefits of the Interstate Migrant Workers Act and were totally at the mercy of the contractors and they are never given a weekly off with wages as required by the Minimum Wages Act and are required to work on all seven days," the petition said.

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