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25-31 July 2014

RNI No. HARENG/2011/39319, Postal Regn. No. GRG/35/2012-2014

Vol. 3 No. 49  Pages 24  ` 10

147 Maruti Suzuki Workers ADMISSION OPEN SESSION 2014-2015

Two Years - No Bail, No Jail { Abhishek Behl / FG }

write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon

T

here is desperation among the thousands of Maruti Suzuki workers who were sacked or laid off after the July 18, 2012 violence at the Manesar factory, as the struggle to get their jobs back has turned into a futile exercise. They believe that they have little hope of getting justice from either the administration, the politicians or even the judiciary. The problem is even more acute for the 147 young men who remain incarcerated in Bhondsi Jail, having not been given bail even two years after the death of a factory manager whose killing was not pre-meditated and was caused amid the violence that erupted in the factory premises due to the prolonged tension between the workers and the management. The Maruti Suzuki Workers Union (MSWU), which is fighting for the cause of the jailed workers as well as those whose services were terminated in the aftermath of the Manesar violence, is despondent, as it finds itself pitted against both a resourceful auto major as well as a State government - which seems to exist only for industry. Acting in a most surprising and unusual manner, and exclusively for this case, the State has hired a top lawyer and team to fight against the workers – allegedly at a cost to the exchequer of about Rs 13 lakhs per hearing! The workers and the Union, on the

Asha PANDEY

The State of our Manufacturing Policy other hand, are struggling to pay the fees to their lawyers and are in perpetual debt - despite their lawyers having agreed for only a nominal payment. Advocate Rajender Pathak, a labour lawyer who has had many brushes with the government, alleges that in this case the entire system has been lined up against the poor workers, and that is why they have got no help, despite running from pillar to post. “The private company, the administration and the politicians want to set an example here, by getting these workers punished in a harsh manner,” says Pathak. The Japanese are the ‘privileged’ investors in this region. The sacked workers, who now prefer

anonymity, allege that the administration is still totally in favour of the company. Their recent request for permission to observe the Second Anniversary of the July 18 incident was denied. Pathak alleges that as soon as a meeting with the company management on this issue ended, Section 144 was imposed in Manesar, to ensure that workers could not hold a protest or demonstration on that day. The Union then approached the District administration to hold a demonstration in Gurgaon, but even here it was not allowed to set up a stage or use a mike. Advocate Pathak says that democratic rights of the workers in the State are just being trampled, because the message from the top is that this major company/investor has to be supported, come what may. As far as the legal status is concerned, he is hopeful that a majority of the jailed workers would be acquitted, but it is unlikely that they would get any relief from the State government on any count. As of now 48 witnesses have deposed before the Court, including 12 doctors. The legal process is likely to take one more year, says Pathak. “We are hopeful that justice will prevail,” he says. Numerous families have been ruined, as they have no source of income – the majority of the workers who are in jail are from very poor families. Out of the 147, about 100 were casual workers, with a total salary even less than the Rs 8,500 per month that was given to a permanent worker at that time. Pathak alleges that there has been excessive political pressure and interference in this case, which has led to extreme hardship for his clients. “Around 3,000 workers who were terminated Contd on p 7 

Hai Ye Gurgaon Meri Jaan Thankfully the postponed Grievance Redressal Meeting on the issues faced by residents has been held this week. It is good to see the DC (Shekhar Vidyarthi) taking this matter seriously. After years at least someone in the Administration has talked tough, straight and legal with errant and arrogant builders. The RWAs that were heard this time were from Ardee City 1, Mayfield Gardens, Parsvnath Exotica and Uppal Southend. The DC not only read out the riot act (and literally the Societies Act) to the builders but also asked for a status report within a week. A team led by Senior Town Planner will undertake the survey. The DC has even threatened the builders with criminal action if they do not act now, to provide the basic civic facilities and services in their ‘colonies’. A delay in the monsoon has caused 50% of the water meant for Gurgaon to be stolen along the way – from the Gurgaon Water Supply canal. A new NCR Water

Canal is being built for future requirements. However, the assumption/requirement is that 70% of this (NCR) canal’s water will go to Gurgaon. Given the realpolitik of the State, it was always an ambitious ‘target’. It now looks not doable. There will always be too many villages and takers – all with more political clout - along the 70km way. The first major rain this month leads to hours’ long traffic jams and the inundation of roads and bylanes. Over to 2015 now… This week a water pipeline bursts on Sohna Road, spilling thousands of litres, before being ‘capped’. This is the fourth major bursting of a major pipeline in the past 2 weeks. They say the force of the water was too strong! On the power front, it is learnt that the current

infrastructure can handle a max. of 1700MW, less than even today’s requirement. And even this infrastructure is down most of the time – this week, hundreds of feeders go ‘down’. Some colonies suffer 20-hour power cuts. The operation of a traffic light at the Hero Honda Chowk has finally been found ‘impractical’ - the Police had known this all along, and the Administration had provided this as a ‘token’. Meanwhile, the decade-long issue festers. Gurgaon girl Shivani Kataria has been adjudged Best Swimmer at the recent Junior National Swimming Championship. 24-hour Gurgaon Police Traffic Helpline: Call 9213020404 for reporting traffic jams and instances of road rage.

Friday gurgaon 25 31 july, 2014  

..be the change you want see

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