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Workers fume at Centre's move to amend Land Act, MGNREGA

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  10 March 2015 12:00 AM GMT

FROM OUR Special Correspondent

SILCHAR March 9: Assam Mojuri Shramik Union (AMSU), Cachar unit, an affiliate of New Trade Union Initiative (NTUI), with hundreds of its activists and supporters after assembling before the office of the Deputy Commissioner of Cachar here today raised voice against the land acquisition act and bill as well as against the amendment of other acts by the NDA Government and demanded their withdrawal. Mas Das president of NTUI and Dhouritri Sarma a leader of AMSU in their addresses castigated the Central Government on its move to strike at the root of the fundamental rights of the toiling masses.

According to them, the amendments to the existing land acquisition act and bill as mooted by the Central Government are retrogressive in contents. The amended section 10 (A) of the act to expand sectors where assessment and consent will not be required. This will mean the government or private companies will no longer need 80% consent for land acquisition in five specific sectors. They have also hit out at the PPP model which is elusive. The projects under such model will make the government act as land-grabber to serve the interest of private companies.

Further, they have been critical of the omission of the social assessment part which again is against the cause of the working class people. The new ordince on the matter ensures that only land owners will be compensated and not those dependent on land. Even the most fertile land can be acquired without the consent of land users.

Hitting out at the amendment of MGNREGA, both the leaders said this will not serve the interest of the employment of rural workers and the rural development. Rather, the provisions of MGNREGA stand in need of improvement by adding 100 days of more work annually by increasing the daily wage and introducing stringent methods for transparency, accountability, social audit, monitoring along with grievance redressal mechanism in order to plug the loopholes for corrupt practices.

AMSU has at the same time demanded wages of all categories of workers should be fixed on the basis of minimum wage act. The tea workers of Assam have not been covered by this act which is unconstitutiol. Unorganized sectors are the worst victims. Though the minimum wage of Assam tea workers is Rs.184, this is not implemented. The Union has also pointed out the plight of thousands of migrant workers and petty traders who are engaged in the mining sector of Meghalaya and in other sectors across north-east region.

These workers face constant threat from the extremist forces who try to dub them as infiltrators or outsiders. This has led to the hype of hate campaign and social bigotry. There have been instances of mental and physical tortures on them. The galand incident of killing an accused trader of Dimapur by forcefully breaking the jail is the ramification of such hate-campaign and the ugly face of law and order machinery. While condemning such heinous killing, AMSU has demanded stern action against the perpetrators of crime and the officers responsible for it.

The lives, security and better living conditions of the migrants have to be ensured. After the protest demonstration, a memorandum addressed to the Prime Minister of India rendra Modi was submitted through the Deputy Commissioner of Cachar today by the leaders of AMSU. This protest day was observed along with the rest of the country.

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