Kashmir Indepth

Labour Deptt fails labourers

Labour Deptt fails labourers

Raouf Dar

Srinagar Aug 12 (KINS): The picture outside the Labour Department at Batamaloo, Srinagar is one of irony. The department which aims to provide a safe and healthy work environment to workers has failed to live up to its objective as the automobile workshops surrounding it have become a telltale of unhealthy work conditions.

The automobile shops were established near the Batamaloo bus stand in 1976. In 2017, their business was badly hit after the government decided to shift the bus stand. Out of 1300 shops, 1000 have already shut down and the remaining are suffering because of administrative inertia.

The reporter visited the area, and witnessed the state of affairs firsthand.  Heaps of garbage emanating foul smell lies scattered around the shops. Rag pickers roam frequently in the area and wade through large puddles formed in the uneven land in front of the shops. Amidst all this stands a tall black gate of the Labour Department covered with overgrown grass. The gate opens to a muddy entrance with mosquitoes buzzing around.

An old mechanic, whose hands were smeared with automobile oil and soot lamented, “This place is no less than a hell. You won’t believe our boys are unable to find a suitable match because when a girl’s family sees the conditions in which we work, they back off.”

“Besides, we often suffer from health problems because of the stench all around,” he told news agency KINS, wishing not to be named.

He said, “Forget our plight for five minutes. Take the example of the Labor Department in our vicinity. I have seen the officials and the employees wading through the water because the area often gets inundated at the slightest rainfall. How can a department that claims to work for our welfare let this happen with us and themselves?”

A shopkeeper rued, “The Srinagar Development Authority is also responsible for this mess. Few years ago, its officials came to us and informed that we will be shifted from this place and rehabilitated. But nothing has happened till date. They just come here to collect the rental fee.” (KINS)


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