" The labour workforce of the State is the backbone of its economic structure. Hence, its welfare is a priority with the Government which would leave no stone unturned to ensure its prosperity. The doors of the State Government are always open for them". These views were expressed here today by the Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, Forest Minister Mr. Lal Chand Kataruchak here at Anaj Bhawan in Sector - 39 while meeting the representatives of the labour unions.On the occasion, the representatives of the labour unions demanded that the contract system be done away with the amount given directly to the labourers so that their living standard gets better. The Minister assured to look carefully into the matter. He also said that as far as the issue of modifying the basic rates being given to the labourers is concerned, he has already written to the Central Government in this regard and would personally take up the issue with the Government of India (GoI). He said that the State Government would also strive for more better work conditions for the labourers.
The Director of the department Mr. Abhinav Trikha on the occasion apprised that the matter pertaining to modifications in the basic rates has been sent to the central Government and is pending with them.The Minister also afterwards had a meeting with the representatives of the Arhtiya Association of Punjab. The association put forward a demand that a sound policy regarding the tendering process is the need of the hour where the normal labourers, and the truck owners can also be equal participants thereby ending the monopoly of the contractors. Apart from this, the parallel arrangements with regard to loading/unloading in the mandis must be made just in case the contractor exhibits negligence in the execution of the work. Besides, the arhtiyas also made a case for increasing their commission as the MSP on crop has been raised to Rs. 2015 per quintal.
The arhtiyas also raised other issues such as lifting in the mandis, implementing per quintal uniform basic rates within 1 to 5 Km radius, loading/unloading in the timely manner, reforms in the policy regarding loading of foodgrains in the mandis apart from transportation, Putting restriction on the transportation of the specials pertaining to foodgrains and manure during the Kharif season for 1 month, work of transportation to the mandis and godowns should be assigned to the arhtiyas rather than contractors, cluster system must be abolished or small clusters be formed so as to put a stop to the self centered ways of the big contractors, basic rates of transportation and loading - unloading be increased annually, and a policy be framed to get the work of transportation of foodgrains done through the arhtiyas.
The Minister gave a very patient hearing to all the demands put forward by the arhtiya association representatives and assured them of serious consideration in fulfilling the just demands as the arhtiyas play a yeoman's role in strengthening the economy of the State.Among others present on the occasion included Director, Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Mr. Abhinav Trikha, President Food Handling Workers Union, Punjab (Moga) and Ex M.P. Mr. Kewal Singh, Mr. Khushi Mohammed, President Arhtiya Association of Punjab Mr. Ravinder Singh Cheema and the General Secretary Jaswinder Singh Rana.