FROM OUR Correspondent
Silchar, July 24: “The need of a united, powerful and strong movement and protest cannot be undermined in any way. Working class should unite and break open the shackles of exploitation and treatment which is being meted out to them. Labourers are also human beings having dreams, desires, aims and aspirations. Things should change for good now. It seems the ghost of the corrupt practises of the previous government is still hovering. There are some things which can never be changed. Still I have a positive feeling that labourers will get their demands fulfilled and that justice will be done to them,” said poet, litterateur and former Vice-Chancellor of Assam University, Dr Tapodhir Bhattacharjee at the concluding session of the two-day 11th triennial central conference of PHE Workers’ and Employees’ Union, Assam, at District Library auditorium in Silchar on Monday.
Speaking as the chief speaker on the occasion, Dr Tapodhir Bhattacharjee laid stresses for a mass scale movement. “The ground reality is that it will be futile if the movements and protest remain confined within the state of Assam. The Centre at New Delhi should also see that labourers are being exploited. Change is a truth and it will come. Their voice should be heard from the capital of India. Every conscious citizen has a fair idea about the plight of these labourers. Master roll, causal, contractual and temporary PHE workers need regularization of their services. It is the fight for our existence, a struggle which will have to be continued,” he added.
Nobokumar Patgiri, general secretary, Assam State Karmachari Federation, said, “If labourers boycott, the whole country will be paralysed. Its machinery and working will come to a standstill. But their lives are not valued. They have always been neglected. The step motherly attitude of the previous government and the present government, to some extent, has hurt the labourers in all aspects.” He read out and placed a number of demands related to the welfare of the PHE workers, employees and labourers. “In addition to regularization of the jobs, we want that the vacant posts should be filled up and recruitment in Grade IV cadre be resumed,” said Nobokumar Patgiri.
“The introduction of New Pension Scheme in 2005 by Dr Manmohan Singh, former Prime Minister of India, was a fierce attack on the labourers. We want that pension should be given. Privatisation will also not be accepted by us. Privatisation is a curse. The conditions of Assam State Transport Corporation and Assam Textile are burning examples. It is high time that the workers should go for movement and protest on mass scale,” Nobokumar Patgiri added. It is relevant to mention here that a new committee of the PHE Workers’ and Employees’ Union, Assam, has also been formed.
Addressing a packed auditorium, Biswajit Paul Choudhury, general secretary cum treasurer of the PHE Workers’ and Employees’ Union, Assam, said, “I have been serving here for the last 27 years. I am overwhelmed and delighted that this year too I have been given the charge of general secretary. We have, in fact, invited MP Sushmita Dev and MLA Dilip Kumar Paul, Deputy Speaker of Assam Assembly today. Our sole purpose behind calling them was to unite all leaders under one umbrella. Problems are everywhere. During the Congress regime, there is little hope for us. The new government gave us some hope. Though, much has been done for us, a lot of things are yet to be done.” Biswajit Paul Choudhury urged upon the government to look into the matter and fulfil the demands of these hapless and helpless labourers.
'If labourers boycott, administrative machinery will be paralyzed'
FROM OUR Correspondent