Deepak project workers’ union meets BRO Commander, Twenty-point demands handed over
Shimla, June 28
In a significant development, a delegation comprising 16 members of the Deepak Project Workers’ Union, affiliated with the Center of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), recently met with Commander DN Dahat of the Border Roads Organization (BRO) at his office in Juri in Kinnaur. The purpose of the meeting was to present a comprehensive twenty-point demand letter to the BRO Commander, seeking improvements in various aspects of workers’ welfare.
Led by CITU State President Vijender Mehra and Secretaries Kuldeep Dogra and Madan Negi, along with Union President Prem Lal, the delegation conveyed their concerns and expectations to Commander Dahat. A key assurance given by the BRO Commander was that despite the involvement of a private company in the BRO road project from Kaza to Losar, no laborer would be deprived of their employment. Job security, with no layoffs or salary cuts, was guaranteed.
Furthermore, Commander Dahat pledged to address several pressing issues raised by the workers. Immediate steps would be taken to ensure improved living conditions for laborers, including provisions for proper housing, new power lines, increased water tanks, additional vehicles for transportation, construction of new toilets and bathrooms, settlement of outstanding arrears and bonus payments, salary holidays, jackets, shoes, gloves, appropriate trade-based wages, working tools, and the availability of kerosene and wood fuel.
Of paramount importance, the Commander assured that laborers discharged after 2019 would be reinstated systematically. He also committed to resolving issues related to gratuity, Employee Provident Fund (EPF), bonuses, and holidays by raising them at the appropriate forum.
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Moreover, in a compassionate gesture, Commander Dahat announced employment opportunities and compensation for a family member of Purna Chand, who tragically lost his life while on duty in Basantpur.
However, CITU State President Vijender Mehra and Secretary Kuldeep Dogra emphasized that failure to fulfill the workers’ demands would result in an intensification of their agitation. They lamented the continuous violation of labor laws within the BRO, pointing out the denial of essential benefits such as EPF, holidays, medical facilities, gratuity, retrenchment allowances, and notice period facilities. Additionally, bonuses were not being disbursed according to regulations.
The labor union representatives also highlighted other grievances, including the lack of housing facilities, inadequate accommodation conditions, insufficient electricity, absence of proper sanitation facilities, and water scarcity at various work sites. The unavailability of suitable vehicles for commuting in remote hilly areas, the absence of free ration from the department’s welfare fund, and the non-provision of kerosene and firewood in regions with heavy snowfall further compounded the workers’ challenges. Additionally, laborers were not supplied with essential protective gear such as shoes, jackets, and gloves to combat the harsh weather conditions.
The untimely payment of wages, difficulty in accessing banks due to limited leave, and the burden of purchasing working tools out of their own pockets were further burdens faced by the laborers. Furthermore, the union representatives expressed concerns about the retrenchment and discharge of laborers without justification since 2019, as well as the discontinuation of stipends, marriage benefits, medical aid, and pensions provided by the Labor Welfare Board.
The Deepak Project Workers’ Union has demanded immediate reinstatement of laborers and the prompt settlement of pending wage arrears.
As the BRO Commander undertakes to address these concerns, stakeholders and observers will be closely monitoring the progress and the resolution of the workers’ demands.
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