AIAWU Welcomes NHRC Notice
THE All India Agricultural Workers Union (AIAWU) in a statement issued on January 7 has welcomed the suo motu notice served by the National Human Rights Commission to the secretary, union ministry for rural development and those of seven states on the suicides of MGNREGA workers as a result of non-payment of dues for work done over a long period of time in 2012-2013. The numbers involved in this are appalling: West Bengal failed to pay Rs 27 lakhs; Bihar failed to pay Rs 18.20 lakhs, Kerala, Rs 13.40 lakhs; Rajasthan, Rs 11 lakhs; and Andhra Pradesh, Rs 8.7 lakhs. In fact, in the seven states that include Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, the figure of people in dire poverty not being paid is over one crore which is about 25 percent of those employed. This state of affairs is intolerable. The AIAWU has demanded that all bottle-necks like the centre delaying funds to the states and corrupt practices like the use of contractors, machines, high piece-work demands be corrected and corrupt officials be proceeded against at once and the dues be paid within two weeks. AIAWU has called on all its units to take on this issue at once and ensure the workers are paid their dues without delay. That this should happen at the height of winter is criminal and must not be allowed to carry on. A stiff resistance is called for and must be implemented at once, it said.