Punjab: Labourers To Block Highway, Demand Compensation for NREGA Workers’ Death
The unions have demanded Rs 10 lakh compensation for the kin of the workers who were run over by a train last week.
Seven labour unions and some farmer unions of Punjab said that they will block the Ludhiana-Jalandhar highway on Tuesday, 20 September, to demand compensation for the death of two Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) workers who were run over by a train last week.
The bodies of the two workers, identified as Avtar Singh and Ram Lubhaya, haven’t yet been cremated and are in the mortuary of Phillaur civil hospital, as the protest over their death outside the office of the subdivisional magistrate entered the fifth day on Monday.
The unions have said that they will block the highway near the Phillaur bus stand.
“We had a meeting with additional deputy commissioner Jalandhar but it appeared that he was bargaining over dead bodies. We were told that they can think of arranging compensation up to Rs 3 lakh per person,” president of Zamin Prapti Sanghrash committee Mukesh Malaud said, as per The Indian Express.
‘Shocked at Rs 25,000 Ex-Gratia’
“When a farmer dies in an accident, they are given compensation up to Rs 10 lakh, so why this discrimination against a labourer? We were shocked to hear that the claim of an NREGA worker that compensation if he dies during work is only Rs 25,000 per person. Is this the value of the life of a labourer who does hard work all day?” he added.
Speaking about how the two labourers died, press secretary of the Pendu Khet Mazdoor Union Kashmir Singh said, “NREGA workers Avtar Singh and Ram Lubhaya along with many others boarded a train from Sangrur to Phillaur on that day. After reaching Phillaur, they started walking on the tracks to reach the main road in order to hire an autorickshaw to reach their villages. But they were run over by a train coming from behind.”
This came after Singh, Lubhaya and other labourers staged a dharna outside the Dreamland colony on 14 September.
The labour unions are protesting under the banner of the Sanjha Morcha Punjab, demanding Rs 10 lakh compensation for the kin of the deceased and a job for a family member.