Haryana to protect the rights of migrant labourers: Hooda

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Chandigarh, Apr 21 (UNI) Expressing concern of the Haryana Government to eradicate the social evils of bonded labour and child labour, Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda today said that as the contractors recruiting the inter-state migrant workers do not obtain licenses in their home states, he has directed the officers concerned to ensure that proper registration certificates are issued to the employers in Haryana.

Mr Hooda was addressing a sensitisation workshop on bonded labour and child labour organised by National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in collaboration with Haryana Labour Department here.

Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Minister said "The state is deficit in labour. Therefore, a large number of migrant labourers are attracted to various industries, especially in brick-kilns and mines.

"The state government is aware that the migrant workers are vulnerable and needed to be protected against exploitation. The practice of taking huge advances by the labourers in brick-kilns and mines is the major cause of their exploitation. A high rate of indebtedness in their home-states is also a cause of their continuing economic backwardness. The government is determined to ensure that proper working conditions are provided to these workers," he added.

The workshop was attended by all District Magistrates, Divisional Commissioners, Director General Police, Administrative Secretaries and Heads of Department of Labour, Home, Education, Health and Women and Child Development Departments.

Mr Hooda urged Deputy Commissioners and Divisional Commissioners to undertake periodic reviews and get feed back regularly on these vital issues. He said that their efforts should be focused on elimination of child labour and bonded labour.

Addressing the workshop, Member of National Human Rights Commission Justice Y Bhaskar Rao said that "District Magistrates have a fundamental role to play in the implementation of the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act as they have statutory obligations and judicial powers, whether it is the matter of identification, release or rehabilitation of bonded labourers".

Mr Justice Rao cited broad implications of various rulings of the Supreme Court against bonded labour and the mandate given to the NHRC for monitoring the implementation of laws and status of release and rehabilitation of bonded labourers in various states.

Chief Secretary Dharam Vir said that there are about 2400 brick kilns and a large number of mines in the state. A large number of migrant labourers, especially seasonal labourers come to the state.

"Though the minimum rates of wages in Haryana are one of the highest in the country, the Government is aware and sensitive to the problems of these workers." He informed the NHRC that Vigilance Committees have been constituted in districts and sub-divisions of the State and are functional. He assured that their functions would be further improved.

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