On 4th July, 2023, five migrant labourers, including three from , Kolkatta and two from Srikakulam died while demolishing and constructing compound wall at Sri.Krishna Arts and Science College, Kunivamathur, Madhukarai, Coimbatore,Tamilnadu. Police filed the FIR and the postmortem was also done. District Collector, Labour department officials were directly present in providing relief and assistance to these deceased migrant labourers. They had given a compensation Rs 2.5 lakhs to the three Srikakulam labourers and have assured to pay compensation to the rest of the labourers’ families as well. Migrant labour bodies were transported to Bangalore airport by the ambulance and from there the bodies were sent to their respective home towns, Vishakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh and Kolkata, West Bengal.
Thanks to all the government officials and Don Bosco Anbu illam for swiftly reaching out to the migrants in distress. Though the Project manager and Site manager have been arrested, fatal accidents occur wherever the construction takes place; the Government is choosing to looking the other way when it comes to strict enforcement of safety measures at work site. This National Forum for Migrant Workers demand enforcement and monitoring mechanism to implement safety measures based on incentives and penalty system.
Preeti Kujur, 15 year old tribal girl from Simdega, Jharkhand died by suicide at her employe’s house in Rajouri Garden. In the beginning Police refused to file the case, after much pressure, police registered a case under abetment to suicide. Cops have also started their investigation into the human trafficking angle in the case. Preeti kujur wanted to go to her native place in Simdega but was not allowed to go by the placement agency. Since she was not allowed, in distress she died by suicide at her employer’s house. With the assistance of DB4M, JMS, and other good souls the girl’s parents were brought and given a catholic burial in Delhi. Thanks to all those who assisted her to rest in peace.
Manpower agencies which provide employment in unorganized sector bring young girls from the tribal belt of Bihar, Jharkhand Odisha, Bengal and Chhattisgarh promising jobs to them. There are 20000 placement agencies operating in Delhi; at least 5 lakh domestic workers are employed. The planned Delhi’s placement agency bill is still in process to track the placement agencies. Interstate migrant workmen (regulation of employment and conditions of service) Act 1979, should be mandatory in which 5 or more ISM workmen are employed to register with the respective state governments. Worker’s contractors have to register themselves on the e-portal where they get an auto generated certificated with a validity of one year.
Delhi government also decided to make police verification mandatory before registering with the labour department. The agencies will have to provide PAN card and bank account details during the registration process.
The Indian government has no legislation for Domestic workers; it is irony that there are placement agencies hiring girls and women for domestic work. Risk of safety is always present for both full time and part time domestic workers (be it male or female domestic workers). Let’s say No to Domestic work till the legislation and regulations are passed in the parliament.
Candle Light Vigil was organised near Labour Statue on the Marina Beach, Chennai on 10th June 2023 in which more than 50 representatives of Unions of Unorganised Workers and DBMS Migrant Workers gathered to pay homage to the departed passengers, due to the recent Oddisha Train Accident involving Coromandal Howrah Chennai Express and Howrah Yasvantpur Express.
Honourable Minister of Indian Railways / Chief Minister:
We are writing to draw your attention to the recent tragic Balasore train disaster in Orissa, which resulted in the loss of 288 lives and left many injured. This devastating incident has highlighted the pressing need to review the process management of our railway systems and improve operating procedures to ensure the safety and well-being of our citizens including the migrant workers, who had suffered with loss of lives during the Lockdown and now in the Odisha train accident.
In light of this unfortunate incident, DBMS & Unorganised Workers Federation, would like to propose several measures aimed at preventing such accidents in the future and ensuring the safety of all passengers traveling by train, particularly migrants who are often at greater risk
We kindly request your support and immediate action in implementing the following initiatives:
Identifying Migrant Hotspots:
Conduct a thorough analysis to identify the hotspots where migrant populations are concentrated in each mentioned state. This will enable us to focus our efforts on providing better facilities and assistance to migrants.
Introduce a weekly dedicated train from each mentioned state, specifically catering to migrants. This train should be designed based on the identified hotspots and the routes commonly taken by migrants. By providing a dedicated train, we can ensure that inter-state migrants have access to reserved seats, improving their safety and overall travel experience.
Implement a compulsory registration system for all passengers, including migrants, wherein they need to provide their name and mobile number at the time of ticket purchase. This will help create a database of passengers and facilitate better communication and assistance in case of emergencies or unforeseen events.
Indian Railways, Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) 2012:
Enforce the Indian Railways, Kavach (TCAS renamed) which means “Armour” of 2023, making it mandatory for all long-running trains across the nation to have updated safety equipment and measures in place. The three trains involved in the accident did not have the protection system installed. Going forth, installing the Kavach in all running trains, it will ensure that trains are equipped to handle emergencies effectively and efficiently.
Compartment or Train Allocation:
Allocate or introduce more protected trains or compartments in the Coromandel Express for general passengers and in the Yesvantpur-Howrah Express. The former had only two general compartments, and the latter had only one. This resulted in the excessive – loading of unreserved passengers in the general compartments of both trains. Taking the above steps will help start managing the crowd and maintain safety standards within the train in the coming days.
Accessibility in Regional Languages:
Make the process of booking and traveling with a reservation more accessible by providing information in regional and other necessary languages. This will enable inner-state migrants, who may not be proficient in English or Hindi, to understand the procedures and avail themselves of the necessary facilities.
The recent tragedy has emphasized the need for a comprehensive and compassionate approach to managing our railway systems. While technological advancements are vital, we must not rely solely on artificial intelligence but also emphasize the importance of highly-trained personnel who can utilize both technology and their expertise to enhance the existing system.
I urge you to consider these proposals seriously and take immediate steps to address the pressing concerns outlined above. By implementing these measures, we can mitigate the risks faced by migrants and ensure the safety and well-being of all passengers traveling on Indian Railways.
PROTECT THE MIGRANTS. BECAUSE THEY ARE VOICELESS, NAMELESS AND FACELESS