Shri D. C. Goswami
Minister of Labour Resources
Labour Resources Department
Government of Bihar
Through Shri Sanjay Kumar, Secretary, Labour Resources Department
Subject-Death of Bihari migrant workers in a power plant in Tamil Nadu & ISMW Act
This is to draw your attention towards the death of two workers from Bihar died after they fell off the chimney of a private power company at Karikuppam near Parangipettai on July 26, 2014. This incident has been reported by The Hindu newspaper dated July 27, 2014 under the title "Two Bihar workers fall to death from power plant chimney" in the Tamil Nadu edition from Cuddalore.
I submit that Vinodh Kumar, 21, another worker, also from Bihar, suffered multiple fractures. The incident happened at the site of IL&FS Tamil Nadu Power Company. The workers who died were Sonuraj Chaudhry, 26, and Muhit Khan, 31. Their bodies were taken to the Cuddalore government headquarters hospital for post-mortem. Vinodh Kumar has been referred to a private hospital at Puducherry. The State Government ought to seek a report about the well being of this seriously injured worker as well besides the two workers who have died.
I submit that it was not the first fatal accident occurring at the site. On August 20, 2012, a worker, also from Bihar, died after he fell off a chimney under construction.
These incidents are happening in the process of establishing a 3,600-MW, coal-fired power plant at Karikuppam by the IL&FS Tamil Nadu Power Company.
I submit that these workers are “inter-State migrant workman” which means any person who is recruited by or through a contractor in one State under an agreement or other arrangement for employment in an establishment in another State, whether with or without the knowledge of the principal employer in relation to such establishment. In this case “workman” means any person employed in or in connection with the work of any
establishment to do any skilled, semi-skilled or unskilled, manual, supervisory,
technical or clerical work for hire or reward, whether the terms of employment by
express or implied.
In this situation, I seek your intervention under the provisions of Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979. The Act applies –
(a) to every establishment in which five or more Inter-State migrant workmen
(whether or not in addition to other workmen) are employed or who were
employed on any day of the preceding twelve months;
(b) to every contractor who employs or who employed five or more Inter-State
migrant workmen (whether or not in addition to other workmen) on any day of the
preceding twelve months.
I submit that under clause 16 of the Act that it shall be the duty of every contractor employing inter-State migrant workmen in connection with the work of an establishment to which this Act applies "in case of fatal accident or serious bodily injury to any such workman to report to the specified authorities of both the States and also the next-of-kin of the workman." It merits attention as to whether or not the company or the contractor who employed these workers have informed Government of Bihar and the family of the dead and injured workers.
Under clause 18 of the Act the liability of principal employer has fixed in case if any facility specified in Sec. 16 is not provided for the benefit or such workman, such allowance shall be paid, or as the case may be, the facility shall be provided, by the principal employer within such time as may be prescribed.
I submit that your intervention can ensure that migrant workers from Bihar are registered under the provisions of the Act and there is prohibition against employment of Inter-State migrant workmen without registration. Because "No principal employer of an establishment to which this Act applies shall employ inter-State migrant workmen in the establishment unless a certificate of registration in respect of such establishment issued under this Act is in force."
I submit that under clause 25 of the Act "Whoever contravenes any provisions of this Act or of any rules made thereunder regulating the employment of inter-State migrant workmen, or contravenes any conditions of a licence granted under this Act, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both, and in the case of a continuing contravention, with an additional fine which may extend to one hundred rupees for every day during which such contravention continues after conviction for the first such contravention."
I submit that under clause 26 "If any person contravenes any of the provisions of this Act or of any rules made thereunder for which no other penalty is elsewhere provided, he shall be
punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine
which may extend to two thousand rupees, or with both." The Act is attached for ready reference.
Taking these provisions of the ISMW Act and the death of the Bihari migrant workers into account, I urge you to instruct the concerned officials like the Inspector or the authorized person under the Act in the State and in the State of Tamil Nadu to provide legal aid and initiate the process of remedial justice to these inter-State migrant workmen.
ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA)
Mb: 08227816731, 09818089660
Shri Jitan Ram Manjhi, Chief Minister, Government of Bihar
Shri Nitish Kumar, Chairman, Committee on Petition, Bihar Legislative Council
Shri Anjani Kumar Singh, Chief Secretary, Government of Bihar
Shri Suresh Kumar Sinha, Labour Commissioner, Government of Bihar