Thursday, May 6, 2010

Judges Visit Various Games Sites And Queried Games workers of their Problems

Amid allegations that laborers working at the Commonwealth Games sites were living in ‘‘inhuman conditions’’, the judiciary has taken up the task of sensitizing these laborers about their legal rights. Nine district court judges are visiting the construction sites over seven days to interact with laborers and find out about the problems they have been facing.

About four lakh daily wagers are engaged in Games related construction. Their plight was highlighted after a PIL filed by Peoples’ Union For Democratic Rights (PUDR) in Delhi high court alleged that they were housed in ‘‘crowded hovels’’ with no protection during winter, no power and filthy or no toilets.

The week-long programme started on May 1 by Delhi Legal Services Authority (DLSA) in collaboration with the Delhi government’s labor department targets all the construction sites where daily wage laborers and migrated laborers are employed. ‘‘Each day, one of the nine secretaries, who are also judicial officers in the district courts, visits the sites and interacts with laborers. Our basic idea is to make these people aware about exploitation at work and the remedies available. We are also providing them with free legal aid,’’ said Gautam Manan, project officer of DLSA.

Taking a cue from the report submitted by an HC-appointed four-member committee a few months back, which said that workers at Games-related construction sites were not being paid minimum wages and worked overtime for no extra money, judges are making an effort to inform them about minimum wages for men and women prescribed under the law.

So far, the judicial officers have visited the Akshardham Games Village, IGI Airport site, DRDO Lodhi Road, etc. Workers were also told about insurance schemes of Delhi government available to them. DLSA also plans to hold a special labor adalat on May 8 at Karkardooma court complex. All pending labor law cases will be disposed of here. ‘‘We have received requests in about 70 cases, which will be dealt on that day,’’ added Manan.