From our Special Correspondent
Silchar, Aug 7: In support of their 4-point charter of demands as declared earlier, unorganized ASTC workers under the umbrella of CITU sat for dhar from 7:30 am this morning. It was, in fact, planned to continue till sunset. But, due to the intervention and assurance held out by ADC Anurag Phukan for solution of their grievances without further delay, the protest demonstration was withdrawn. The workers were venting out their aggrieved feelings for being treated indifferently by the ASTC authorities concerned and holding up their wages for long 15 months.
They have even been deprived of their minimum wages as each of them received Rs 3600 only monthly as salary. Since 2014, 19 drivers have been arbitrarily and unjustifiably suspended from services. 15 others have been retained after the Union resorted to legal action. Burhan Uddin Mazumder, publicity secretary of the Union, said these unfortute workers are also denied minimum facilities. The Assistant Labour Commissioner here when approached for justice against their exploitation and deprivation has been evading her responsibility.
The senior divisiol engineer, on the other hand, has been pressing on the workers to get themselves disassociated from the Union. In the circumstances, the drivers, mechanics and technicians as well as guards have decided to join hands together and resort to agitation. The maging director of ASTC at Guwahati has preferred to maintain intriguing silence. According to Mazumder, the turn of events indicate that the ASTC authorities have become totally indifferent as per the directive of the BJP Government.
Some of the workers deprived of their wages and basic facilities have rrated before the media-persons their tales of agonies, both physical and mental. They are in crisis, faced with the question of their very sustence and survival. As Mampi Ranu Das said, “My husband, a driver, afflicted with cancer, had to suffer and ultimately succumbed to death without proper treatment.” In fact, he died in harness and despite his dedicated services, he was deprived of his salary of 15 months. Mampi Rani Das added to say she is in total distress, knowing not how to maintain herself and her two sons, Pray (9) and Kul (13).
Her sons are the students of Class IV and VIII. She was assured of a job after the death of her husband, but till now she has been hoping against hope. This is virtually a negation of the interests of the workers, organized and unorganized. It is the declared policy of BJP Government at the Centre and the state, pointed out Mazumder, is to go for disinvestment of the units or establishments running in losses. It is high time that all the workers’ unions and democratic people in general should unite against the sinister design of the Government at Dispur to throttle the voice of working people.
The demands as placed by the Union are all the retrenched workers have to be taken back with their arrear wages, official order for the reinstatement of 15 drivers has to be issued immediately, all the workers have to be paid minimum wages as per law with their due arrears and make clear the deduction of 12% from their salary every month towards CPF and provide account slip to each of the workers.