GUWAHATI, July 14 � Many of the traders operating from Fancy Bazar, Beltola and Bamunimaidam BG Yard are not willing to pay their labourers the Government-determined minimum wages for loading and unloading, alleged the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) in a statement here today. It has demanded immediate implementation of the new wages for the labourers engaged in the occupation of loading and unloading all over the State.
The KMSS has alleged that the Kamrup Chambers of Commerce has been torturing the labourers mentally and physically in the face of the demand for implementation of the new minimum wages announced by the State Government through a gazette notification recently.
The Kamrup Chambers of Commerce has even gone to the extent of importing some new labourers to Fancy Bazar and engaged some ruffians as labour contractors to keep the labourers who are presently engaged in the loading and unloading activities under pressure.
Not content with this, the powerful lobby of the businessmen has engaged a senior police officer, a brother of an influential minister and some goons to send the unrelenting labourers to the jail.
It needs mention here that the State Government on June 17, 2010, notified a draft list of the wages of the labourers engaged in the occupation of loading and unloading as per the Clause (B) of Sub-section (1) of Section 5, and called for suggestions from the stakeholders.
This draft list was finalised and published in the February 25, 2011 Assam Gazette (Extraordinary).
The Kamrup Chambers of Commerce got three leaders of the DG Yard labourers arrested on fabricated charges on May 22 and one of them is still in the jail. Again, it got an agreement signed by the DG Yard Welfare Society president and secretary. The agreement stated that the pervious wages would be hiked by only 35 per cent.
On the contrary, the Government has fixed the wages of the labourers engaged in the loading and unloading job to Rs 2.31 per packet, against the existing Rs 1. It has asked the businessmen to pay Rs 1.56 per tin against the existing 70 paise, Rs 1.26 per carton against the existing 59 paise, Rs 2.61 per cement-laden bag, against the existing 95 paise.
The traders have now been trying to mislead the people with the false assertion that if the new wages are implemented, the common people would have to pay Rs 1 extra for a kilogram of essential items.
In fact, the new wages are unlikely to raise the prices of a kilogram of rice by 2 paise if the new wages are paid for loading and unloading a bag of 100 kg. The new wages would effect a nominal hike of 4 paise per kilogram if the new wages are paid for loading and unloading a bag of 50 kg, claimed the KMSS.