Karnataka Government Stops Shramik Express To Resume Construction Work

Captain Mannivanna, Karnataka, Karnataka Government, Karnataka Government Stops Shramik Express, Karnataka Stops Shramik Express To Resume Construction Work Slug, Labour Department Secretary of Karnataka, Ministry of Home Affairs, Nationwide lockdown, Shramik Express, special trains for the migrant labourers

The Karnataka Government, on the 6th of May, decided to stop Shramik Express, special trains for the migrant labourers amid the nationwide lockdown.

Though an official announcement of the decision is yet to come, The Labour Department Secretary of Karnataka Captain Mannivanna took to his official Twitter handle and said, “Now, they can go only after the lockdown is lifted. Let them stay put. We will take care of them.”

According to the sources, the unofficial decision is said to be after the Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa met a few builders and chairman of real estate industries.  The meeting was held to request the Karnataka Government to start construction in the State amid the lockdown.  These industrialists and real estate managers even asked the Chief Minister to convince these labourers to stay and work for the construction.

The construction works in the State is dependent on the labourers, hence their going back to native villages would affect the economy of the construction and real estate industry in Karnataka.

However, the assurity of the State Government and these constructors is in vain, as many migrant workers suffered starvation and no salaries during the lockdown.   The trains, approved by the Ministry of  Home Affairs (MHA) , are their only chance to go back home.

Nitish, a construction worker for Bengaluru metro spoke about the groud level situation for workers.  He said, though they were getting food and water from their employer since the 4th of May, after protesting, they were informed the money for the food and water would be deducted from their salaries. 

Nitish said, “Right now, only around 400 out of the 1,000 labourers are at the site.  Even I wanted to go and we were promised by the Government that we will be allowed to go.  Now shouldn’t I get angry if the Government stops the trains all of a sudden?  Now we have no other option but to stay.  We don’t want to work here anymore.”

Rajender Yadav, another worker for Bengaluru metro said, “Nobody wants to work there anymore, we all want to go home.  We can’t wait for our payment for this, we do not know if they will pay or not.”  

Meanwhile, Maitreyi Krishnan, an advocate and member of All India Council of Central Trade Unions in Karnataka slammed the State Government for stopping the trains and said, “Workers have a right to go home.  Article 19(1)(d) guarantees freedom of movement, this was suspended, how long more? Article 23 prohibits forced labour.  What Karnataka government is doing on behalf of the real estate lobby is forced labour.” 

N. Manjunath Prasad, the Nodal officer for inter-state travel from Karnataka wrote to the South Western Railways saying the trains are not required anymore.

B.S. Yediyurappa also said, “During a high level meeting in (the) last two days, the employers have agreed to pay full salary and provide them food also.  There is an urgent need to resume economic activities.”

However, an official notice regarding the same is yet to be made.

The Karnataka Government sent 9,600 migrant labourers in 8 trains from the 3rd of May to the 5th of May.  The trains travelled to three destinations, Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha.

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