Def min’s attention drawn towards BRO labourers’ issues

ITANAGAR, 17 May: The Northeast region unit of the Border Roads Organization Labourers’ Union (BROLU) has drawn the attention of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh towards the various issues affecting the state’s BRO casual paid labourers (CPL) due to the imposition of the lockdown.

In a representation to the minister, the union on Monday informed that thousands of CPLs under the BRO working under different projects like Vartak, Arunank, Udayak and Brahmank in the border areas have been badly affected by the lockdown.

“The CPLs are now in a dilemma. They cannot attend their duties due to imposition of the lockdown and they do not have enough money to run their families or for their medical treatment. They are scared of losing their daily wages due to lockdown. Moreover, there are thousands of interstate migrant CPLs working in different states under the BRO. They do not even have documents like BPL/APL card, etc, so that they can avail free ration. Also, as CPLs are generally working in inaccessible areas, it is very difficult for them to purchase essential commodities for their day to day requirement. They are staying in temporary labour sheds provided by the BRO in different locations where road and bridge constructions are currently going on, or to maintain the highways,” the union stated.

It appealed to the minister to direct the BRO authorities to not deduct wages of the CPLs during the lockdown period in the districts and micro-containment zones declared by the states, and to provide central and state benefits like free ration and other benefits under the Payment of Wages Act, 1936, during the period.

The union also requested Singh to direct the BRO director general to make sure that not a single CPL loses their life due to Covid-19 or hunger, and that they are not forced to work during the lockdown period.

“It is the responsibility of the BRO to protect the lives of CPLs and their families as they are engaged and stationed in different locations as per their requirement in different projects,” the union added.