The Sandur-based Bellary Zilla Gani Karmikara Sangha expressed concern over the loot of human resources going unreported in the melee of illegal mining, and urged the State government to initiate steps to implement the reclamation and rehabilitation plan for the welfare of the labourers who have been rendered unemployed since the mines were closed following Supreme Court order.
Addressing presspersons here on Thursday, R. Manasaiah, president of the Sangha, said it was unfortunate that none of the reports on illegal mining, inquires and the like, have dealt with the loot of mine workers and their plight after being thrown to the streets in the advent of closure of all mining related activities.
He said as many as 25,000 mine workers, who do not find any mention in any record of the government departments, were rendered jobless and have been leading a miserable life. That their termination from service was in violation of various labour laws and Industrial Dispute Act, has not been taken into account by any of the investigating agencies or the government. There was an urgent need to compensate them besides rehabilitating them, Mr. Manasaiah said. He said Chief Minister Siddarmaiah, who launched a movement against illegal mining as the leader of the opposition, has now been announcing several ‘bhagya’ schemes for the poor and needy – he urged Mr. Siddaramaiah to announce ‘udyoga bhagya’ for the benefit of those who were rendered jobless after closure of mines.
He said the Sangha was mulling over resorting to a two-pronged agitation – taking to the street and seeking legal remedy.
To start with, the Samiti would launch a rally in Bellary on February 14 to draw the attention of all concerned towards the plight of the working class, besides submitting a memorandum to the Chief Minister, the Central Empowered Committee (CEC), among others, to come to their rescue.
Apart from meeting the CEC, efforts would also be made to file a petition before the Supreme Court.Meanwhile, the Sangha has demanded nationalisation of mines, clearing arrears and other benefits for the unemployed workers, recovering the loss caused to the State exchequer by those indulged in illegal mining and utilising the recovered money to provide compensation to the affected, implementing the reclamation and rehabilitation plan, and initiating steps to revive mining activities.
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