Injured migrant worker continues to wait for hand of help

Hope was the last straw that Sheikh Mukhtar Ali, a 42-year-old migrant worker from Murshidabad in West Bengal, had clutched at all through his life of penury and hard labour.

But, after losing his right palm while working in a scrap godown in Perumbavoor on August 20, he is left to stare at a dark future. Though Ali was rushed to the Government Medical College Hospital at Kottayam, the severed palm could not be stitched back, leaving him handicapped. He now lives in a dingy rented room at Perumbavoor, at the mercy of his fellow workers.

“I have no idea how to feed my family or educate my children now that I am unlikely to get work. Then there is the unpaid loan I had taken for building a small house that is far from complete,” said Ali. The desperation haunts him daily as he listens silently over phone to the wails of his wife Kohinoor, left with their three children back home.

Ali, who came to Perumbavoor in 2011, had been working in the scrap godown for eight months when he met with the accident. He did not go home even during the lockdown since there was only misery and hunger to return to.

“Three months after the incident, Ali has not yet received a single penny as compensation, which he is legally entitled to as per the Workmen’s Compensation Act. In fact, there were even attempts to send him packing soon thereafter,” said George Mathew, coordinator of Progressive Workers Organisation, who got abducted and assaulted allegedly for taking up the cause.

Labour Department sources said they had submitted an inquiry report with the Industrial Tribunal of Alappuzha, which is the notified Employee Compensation Commissioner for Ernakulam.

“We visited the work site and recorded the statements of the worker concerned and his co-workers and are convinced of his situation,” said a senior Labour Department official. The department, however, did not receive the employer’s statement before filing the report, but merely got an objection after the mandatory seven days’ time.

“Ali has stayed back hoping that he may get his rightful compensation and it is for the government to ensure that,” said Mr. Mathew.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 2:57:04 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/injured-migrant-worker-continues-to-wait-for-hand-of-help/article33145489.ece

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