Special Correspondent

VISAKHAPATNAM: One of the Girijan labourers from Orissa engaged by a private contractor for unloading iron ore was fatally knocked down by a port train on Monday and the AITUC-affiliated Visakhapatnam Harbour and Port Workers Union had managed to get an ex gratia of Rs. 4 lakhs to her family, said its president V.V. Rama Rao.

Pratima, aged around 40, was one of the many Girijan labourers brought from Orissa by the contractors to do the job of unloading iron ore from lorries and loading it into the ships (as this job was not done by the local labourers). They are paid less and also not provided water and other facilities. Pratima was knocked down by the train as she was fetching water in the early hours of the day.

Though she was not a permanent employee or a member of the AITUC-affiliated trade union, the union office-bearers decided to extend help on humanitarian grounds, while no other trade union did not bother, Mr. Rama Rao said.