TEZPUR, May 22 � The Vartak Labour Union which has been fighting over the years seeking their legitimate rights from the BRO authority has sought direct intervention of the Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar. During the recent Tezpur visit of the Union Minister, the representatives of the labour organisation had a discussion to find a solution to the vexed problem.
The union under the leadership of Pranab Barthakur and Gyasuddin Mamud submitted a representation to the Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar through the local MP (Tezpur Lok Sabha constituency) R P Sharma on Thursday. The memorandum expressing its deep concern over the negligence of the BRO authority stated that the Vartak Labour Union had been seeking justice against the injustice that has been perpetrated upon them over the last many decades through the All Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC). But their woes are not yet over. �We have submitted many representations to the authority concerned including the President and Prime Minister seeking their direct intervention over the long-pending issue. However, it is a matter of serious concern that it has remained a fruitless effort for us till date. The same representation was again submitted to the Prime Minister on February 24, 2015 last (letter No- VLU/303/15).�
The memorandum stated that the Vartak labourers under the Union have been providing their dedicated service to the agency under Project Vartak of BRO since it�s inception, but the most tragic thing is that these labourers despite their dedication have been deprived of their legitimate rights which are specifically mentioned in the constitution of BRO and Ministry of Labour, Government of India. Stating that the union was registered under the Assam chapter of the INTUC on January 10, 1984 to fight for their rights the petition also said that despite all these they could not get their legitimate rights which had compelled them to file a case in the Gauhati High Court in 1993 against the BRO demanding fulfillment of their demands including regularisation of the posts of their CP labourers. �The Honourable Gauhati High Court in three verdicts in the case No-WP (C) 1839/ 1993 (August 27, 1996) has ruled in favour of the labourers stated that alongwith other required facilities the posts of the CP labourers should be regularised. But it was allegedly violated by the BRO authority. Meanwhile, we approached the Supreme Court and a case was registered (case No- CA (C) 2129-2130/2004), which in its judgment on March 4, 2011 directed to the BRO authority to regularise the posts of the CP labourers. However, despite this order instead of regularising the posts of the CP labourers, the BRO authority dismissed many of the labourers creating an awkward situation. Following this, we again filed a case in the Gauhati High Court seeking an intervention against the dropping of the working labourers. The court accordingly gave a verdict (against the case No-WP (C) 639/2012) to adjust the working labourers under the ongoing projects of Project Vartak, which was also violated. Based on these repeated violations, a contempt petition was filed in the Supreme Court in 2012 (Case No-142-143/ 2012) against Civil Appeal No- 2129-2130 /04 against the Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma. In reply to it, the respondent committed to settle the issue with a final decision as early as possible. But that was also not executed. Accordingly, as the concerned authority failed to execute the same, another case was filed against the Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma in the Supreme Court (Contempt Petition (CP) No-102-103/13) against Civil appeal No-2129-2130 / 04.�
It stated that unfortunately in a letter No-BRDB/04 (13) 2012-GE-II dated September 2012 forwarded to the Vartak Labour Union and copy given to the President of India showing certain baseless causes like inability to absorb the working labourers under the ongoing project following the already existing of large number of labourers, the BRO authority refrained from an amicable settlement of the case, following which the above mentioned contempt case was dismissed hurting the legitimate rights of the labourers.
�After this we filed an RTI in the office of the Project Vartak (BRO), Tezpur seeking a transparent report about the status of our issue. However, in reply to it the central agency provided certain false reports to divert our issue, the details of which were submitted to the President of India, the Ministry of road Transport and Highway�s Border Roads Development Board, Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Government of India, Secretary, Labour and Employment, Government of India, president/ secretary, Bharatiya Janata Party, New Delhi, etc., on November 6, 2013. On the otherhand, on February 24, 2015 a representation was submitted to the Prime Minister, Government of India seeking his intervention mentioning our long-pending problem, the copy of which was forwarded to Ministry of Road Transport and Highway�s Border Roads Development Board, Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Government of India, Secretary, Labour and Employment, Government of India, local (Tezpur) MP, RP Sharma, Union Minister for State, Sarbananda Sonowal etc. However, even after that we have not achieved our goal as all these have yet to attract the attention of the agencies concerned. Being frustrated as we have not got any justice on it we even sought permission from the agencies concerned including the BRO authority and Sonitpur district administration and the Tezpur Judicial Court. In this regard the three agencies also maintained silence and in protest against it we tried to kill ourselves by �self immolation� at a public place on April 17, 2015. We were refrained from committing suicide by mediapersons present there and later we postponed our protest responding to the commitment of the administration that the issue would be settled soon. But till date noting has happened. However, in your recent Tezpur visit you (RP Sharma) took the matter seriously,� the memorandum said urging him find an immediate solution to the long-pending problem.