'Improve condition of Metro workers, else...'

High Court directs BMRCL to hold meeting of contractors, sub-contractors

'Improve condition of Metro workers, else...'

The High Court warned the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) on Wednesday that it would stop the project if it did not improve the conditions of workers employed in the project.

The court was hearing a petition by Samuel Satya Seelan, seeking to improve the working conditions of the workers. The Division Bench comprising Chief Justice D H Waghela and Justice B V Nagarathna directed the BMRCL to convene a meeting of contractors, labour department and petitioners to improve the condition of workers.

During the hearing, the Union government submitted an affidavit stating that the 27 contractors who had been awarded works in the construction of Metro stations and viaducts had failed to comply with labour laws. The bench lashed out at the BMRCL, saying, “What kind of development is this, if you cannot take care of the workers?”

When the petitioners submitted that even basic facilities like water were not provided in some places, the bench said, “Can’t you even provide them basic amenities like water? They are working on a project of this magnitude, if they are not taken care of, we will have to stay the project.”

“The present writ petition is not about enforcing labour laws. What you do is you just pay penalty and close the matter. The question is, what needs to be done regarding protection of human rights and to improve the working conditions at these places. If the contractors fail to comply with the labour norms, let their contracts be terminated,” the bench told senior counsel Nagananda, who appeared for BMRCL.

Earlier, the Centre submitted that as per the directions of the High Court, it had formed three teams with three officers each.

They had inspected the construction sites to verify whether the contractors had complied with various labour laws. Each team visited all the 27 work sites in the City and inspected the working conditions for violations.

The bench then directed the BMRCL to convene a meeting of contractors and sub-contractors to resolve the workers’ problems.

The matter was adjourned after counsel for BMRCL, Nagananda, promised to take steps to ensure all labour law violations are set right.

BMRCL version

Sources in BMRCL said that the laws on migrants do not apply to this project as the workers had already migrated here and worked for several other projects before the work on Namma Metro began.

The counsel for BMRCL Nagananda said the BMRCL is not directly accountable for the labour problem as the onus is on the contractors to ensure that the labour laws are not violated.

The managing director and spokesperson of BMRCL were unavailable for comment.

Labour condition

Labour conditions at stations as per affidavit filed by the Union government.

MG Road: Contractor: M/s Punj Lloyd Ltd: Inspection on June 19, 2013.

Licence not obtained under Inter State Migrant Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act.

Register of wages, building workers, persons employed, form D, register of migrant workers not maintained at work spot

Wage book, pass books not issued to workers

First-aid facilities, stretchers, ambulance room, ambulance van not provided.

Drinking water, washing facilities, rest rooms not as per prescribed specifications.

Baiyyappanahalli: M/s URC Construction: Inspection on June 17, 2013.

Licence not obtained under Inter-State Migrant Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act.

No pass books issued to inter-state migrant workmen.

No canteen and accommodation provided as per prescribed specification

CMH Road, Baiyyappanahalli elevated stations: M/S IVRCL Ltd: Inspection on June 20, 2013.

No registers were maintained at work site; wage slips and wage books not issued.

Hosahalli, Tollgate and Vijayanagar stations: M/s Alhuwalia Contractors (India) Ltd: Inspection on June 18, 2013.

Licence not obtained under Inter State Migrant Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act.

Muster rolls, register of wages, building workers, persons employed, form D, register of migrant workers not maintained at work spot.

First-aid facilities, stretchers, ambulance room, ambulance van not provided.

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