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Give Food Ration Kits, Stop Pay Cuts For Labourers During Lockdown : AICCTU Seek Directions From Karnataka High Court To State

Mustafa Plumber
28 April 2021 2:14 AM GMT
Give Food Ration Kits, Stop Pay Cuts For Labourers During Lockdown : AICCTU Seek Directions From Karnataka High Court To State
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The All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU) on Tuesday filed a memo before the Karnataka High Court bringing to the notice of the court the serious impact on food, livelihood and economic security of large sections of the society, particularly the unorganised workers, farmers and landless labourers, during the 14-day lockdown across the state, from Tuesday 9...

The All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU) on Tuesday filed a memo before the Karnataka High Court bringing to the notice of the court the serious impact on food, livelihood and economic security of large sections of the society, particularly the unorganised workers, farmers and landless labourers, during the 14-day lockdown across the state, from Tuesday 9 pm.

Advocate Clifton Rozario filed the memo which states that post the lockdown of 2020, the number of people who are poor, increased by 75 million as per research by the Pew Institute. It is feared that the situation will be further exacerbated by this lockdown, and severely compromise the right to livelihood, education, food and shelter. Furthermore they will be unable to pay off any outstanding debts and in fact would be pushed into seeking more loans.

The memo also states that "It is necessary to remember that for almost a whole year, children of government schools and colleges had no classes - online or offline. It is also submitted that the State Government and its departments must bestow special focus on vulnerable groups of society, including small and marginal farmers, agricultural labour, plantation workers, casual labour, domestic workers, street vendors, migrant workers, gig workers, garment workers, powrakarmikas, construction workers, and a vast body of people who are in the informal sector, as also homeless persons, senior citizens, slum dwellers, persons with disabilities, widows, orphans, those who have lost resources and homes during the recent climate-related floods and droughts, those residing in informal settlements, etc".

The memo reads "There is an added onus on the governments to ensure that these vulnerable populations receive special focus in the provision of emergency food, monetary relief and medical support. Article 21 protects the Fundamental Right to Life and Livelihood and of emergency food, monetary relief and medical support".

Further, it is said that under section 30 the National Food Security Act, the Central Government and the State Governments are mandated to give special focus to the needs of the vulnerable groups for ensuring their food security.

Accordingly, it is sought the following prayers:

A. Direct the State Government to announce ration kits for all persons suffering from food insecurity

B. Direct the State Government to pass orders on the lines of the MHA order dated 29.03.2020 directing employers to make payment of wages to their employees for the period that their establishment was closed.

C. Direct the State Government to pass orders on the lines of the MHA order dated 29.03.2020 directing that rent would not be collected for a period of one month and anyone forcibly vacating tenants would be liable for action (on the lines of Annexure-T).

D. Direct the State Government to pass an order on the lines of the Advisory dated 20.03.2021, mandating employers/owners of establishments not to terminate employees, particularly casual or contractual, or reduce their wages.

E. Direct the State Government to establish separate helplines by the labour department to assist workers who are not receiving their wages for the lockdown period.

F Direct the State Government to establish a separate helpline to assist tenants who are facing problems from their house owners on account of rent.

G. Direct the state government to announce compensation packages for all farmers and all sections of workers.

A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Aravind Kuamar said it would consider the issues raised in the memo at a later stage. However, it directed Advocate General to convene a meeting of the advocates appearing in this group of petitions and will understand from them their grievances not only regarding the aspects of (Availability of beds, Remdesivir and Oxygen) but all other aspects, including issues of Food security, vaccination etc.


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