Staff Correspondent

Sangha members ask district administration to take up their problem

  • The company has been functioning at Heggsanahalli for the past four years
  • Workers say they have not been paid wages properly and were denied weekly holiday

    RAICHUR: Members of the Base Power Karmikara Sangha staged a daylong dharna here on Thursday under the banner of the Hyderabad-Karnataka Janandolana Kendra in protest against retrenchment of 75 labourers by Base Power, a private power-generating company at Heggsanahalli near here.

    `Set right injustice'

    Around 80 activists of the sangha led by Raghavendra Kustagi, honorary president of the kendra, sat in a dharna on the premises of the Deputy Commissioner's office demanding that the district administration take up their problem with the company and set right the injustice done to them.

    Mr. Kustagi told presspersons that the Andhra-based company had been functioning at Heggsanahalli for the past four years. It employed local people as labourers and even engaged them in the annual maintenance of its power plant. A few months ago, the labourers had lodged a complaint with the Labour Department here on the lack of facilities such as safety shoes, gloves and helmets. Workers claim they were not given provident fund and weekly holiday and the company violated the Minimum Wage Act. Recently, it retrenched the labourers without any notice.

    Workers from outside

    He said the company did not pay wages to the labourers for the past one-and-a-half months as punishment for approaching the Labour Department. Recently, it brought a group of labourers from Tamil Nadu and Orissa and engaged them in the annual maintenance work on the plant. This is in violation of recommendations of the Sarojini Mahishi Committee.

    The post of the labour officer has been lying vacant since the last eight months and the department has been functioning with the Koppal labour officer as its in-charge. Even the provident fund officials concerned and the inspectors of factories have failed to ensure justice to the labourers, he added.

    Mr. Kustagi said the State Government was implementing the recommendations of the Sarojini Mahishi Committee in order to provide employment to the local people.

    The Deputy Commissioner, who is also the district chairman of the committee, was responsible to ensure justice to the labourers and the proper implementation of the recommendations of the committee.

    In a memorandum submitted to Deputy Commissioner Tushar Girinath, the sangha demanded that the company withdraw the retrenchment order and release pending arrears to workers immediately. It also demanded to pay a minimum wage of Rs. 3,000 a month for each labourer, provisions for provident funds, weekly holiday and general holiday and payment of bonus for the past four years.