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Ladakh

In Conversation With Reach Ladakh

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In conversation with Ghulam Nabi Tak -Assistant Labour Commissioner
By Nawang Palkit, Monday, May 1, 2017

LEH:
Q. Brief us about the Labour department.  
 
District labour department, Leh established in the year 1971-72.  The department is presently headed by an Assistant Labour Commissioner, assisted by a Labour Officer, Labour Inspector, and staffs.
 
The department is the implementing agency of various Labour laws. An inspection is also done to find out employee & employer relationship and ensure that the provision of the labour laws such as Shops and Establishment Act, Contract labour, Payment of Wages, Minimum wages, Employee’s compensation, Child Labour, Motor transport workers, J&K building and other construction workers Act are implied.
 
Q. What is the status of labour in Leh District? What are the different categories?
 
Status of the labour is better in Ladakh as compared to another part of the nation. Under the Minimum Wages Act, 1948: The Act provides for fixation minimum wages payable to the skilled, semi-skilled, unskilled and ministerial workers.
 
The minimum wages fixed for these categories of workers are skilled ₹225, Semi-Skilled ₹ 175, unskilled ₹ 150 and Ministerial/Supervisory/Accountancy- ₹ 200.
 
However, the amount fixed by the government is inapplicable in regions like Ladakh because of the different climatic and geographical condition.
 
Q. Many people complain about the absence of proper rates set by the labour department.  Is there any rate list set by the department? If yes, please share.
 
Labour rate in Leh district is fixed by the committee under the chairmanship of D.C Leh. The rates we have fixed are more than the minimum wages fixed by the Government of India. It is because of the harsh climatic condition, geographical region etc.
 
Following are the rate list fixed by the labour committee, Leh district for the year 2016 -17: 
 

CATEGORIES

CLASS

RATE

Unskilled labour

-

369

Unskilled labour

10+2

495

Mason

A

571

Mason

B

460

Carpenter

A

571

Carpenter

B

433

Painter

-

462

Plumber

-

462

Electrician

-

462

Cook

A

633

Cook

B

584

Waiter

-

383

Sweeper

-

363

Mate supervisor

-

452

Pony trekker

-

445

The minimum rate list mentioned above will change every year.
 
Q. What are the various benefits and welfare schemes available for the labours?
 
There are various benefits and welfare schemes available for the labours under the Employees compensation. Various Welfare Schemes are approved by J&K Building and other Construction Workers Welfare Board for Registered Construction Workers. In which passbook is issued to all the registered labours. Till date, there are 700 registered labour under this board and availing all the benefits.
 
Under Employees Compensation Act, 1923, an amount of ₹ 19, 60,793 were paid to the nominees of the 6 deceased people till date.
 
Under Building and other construction workers Act 1996, an amount of ₹1, 25,90,200 is paid to  2092 beneficiaries for Educational Assistance. ₹23, 50,000 is paid to 94 beneficiaries under Marriage Assistance, ₹5,000 paid as Injury assistance and ₹1,00,000 paid to the beneficiary as death assistance till March 2015 ending.

For Marriage assistance, the beneficiary is entitled to a financial assistance of ₹20,000 for the marriage of his children or for his own marriage. As Maternity benefit, ₹5000 is provided during the period of maternity on an application made by her. For Death benefit, an amount of ₹.1.00 lakh to the nominee will be sanctioned and as a Medical assistance, a financial assistance of ₹ 5000 will be given in favor of the beneficiaries who are unable to do any work due to ailment or accident.
 
Q. Highlight us about the labour rights.
 
Labour rights are a broad issue; however, it can be simmered down to the safety and respect of human. Some components of labour rights are the rights to job safety, collective bargaining, and equal pay for equal work and giving justice based on discrimination, illegal termination, starvation death cases, minimum wages, no-pay and others.
 
Several of awareness campaign related to labour right was organized in the far-flung area of Leh district.
 
From this year, we are making labour insurance scheme, in which an amount of ₹ 4 Lakh will be benefited to each registered labour in J&K state.
 
Q. Ladakh has been witnessing a heavy influx of labour from outside during the peak season, how does the department put a check on it? Do we have a proper record of these labours?  Can you share the data with our readers?
 
Labour must get registered at the police station for the security and safety reasons. It is the responsibility of police station of the particular jurisdiction to maintain their proper record. Whereas, in the case of contract labour, it is a duty of a contractor, employing the labour to get it registered with the department.
 
The department will maintain the record of those labours that enters in the restricted area. In past five years, 7,389 labour entered in the restricted area. However, labour entered into restricted area from January 2016 to December 2016 is 1,012 in Changthang area and 972 in Nubra valley. From last year the permit registration imposed on domestic labour were relaxed.
 
Under the shops and establishment act 1966, 8,658 employees have been registered and 10,305 shops and establishment has been registered till date.
 
In 2016 -17, a total of 62 cases has been launched out of which 61 has been solved.
 
Q. Areas like Skampari and Mane-Tselding area are filled with labours without proper facilities.  What are your plans for those areas to prevent such mess?
 
In these areas, rooms are rented based on per head instead of per room without any sanitary facilities.  And labours are happy to pay per head rather than per room.
 
To check and control the mess created by the labours who are accommodated without sanitary and basic facilities, a joint committee headed by the Municipal committee, Police department and labour department is formed.

The committee will conduct regular inspections related to the provision of basic facilities like drinking water, electricity and toilets and rooms in these areas.
 
Q. Is there any rules and regulation for a people who provide shelter on rent to the labours? If yes, what are different rules and regulation?
 
Whoever rent shelter to labour must rent the house with facilities like proper toilet, Drinking water supplies, proper accommodation, hygiene environment etc.
 
And before renting, the renter must get done the tenant registration at a nearby police station for safety and security. It is also important to maintain their proper detail of residence proof.
 
Q. What is the procedure of registration? Is registration necessary for both the local and non-local labours?
 
It is important to maintain the registration and is done at the police station for security point of reason. However most of the local labours are working in various organizations like Air force, HIMANK, BRO etc and their registration are done by the respective organizations who hires them.
 
Under the Building and Other construction workers Act, 7,183 workers were registered and 57 contractors are registered in Leh labour office.
 
Q. Are the crime cases in Leh responsible with the growing labour population from outside?
 
It is difficult to relate increasing crime issue with growing labour population.

According to police, in last year, 40% related to crime are property crimes such as burglary. 30% are related to domestic issues such as assault and robbery in which money is often a motive and 30% are linked to heinous offenses.  Many criminals are motivated to commit the crime because of poor economic conditions and the involvement is 60% non-local and 40% local.
 
Q. Tell us about the department initiative to provide a labour accommodation or labour night shelter Labour Sarai. Do we have such shelter in Leh?
 
There is a labour night shelter (Labour Sarai) in Skampari. It is defunct right now, but this year we will be renovating five rooms.
 
The government has approved a land for labour night shelter in Ibex colony, a DPR worth₹ 2 crores has been already sent for approval.
 
Q. What is the take of the department on Child labour? Do we have such illegal practice in our society?
 
A child between ages 14 to 18 can work except in the hazardous area. The existing Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, allows employment of children up to 14 years of age.
 
It is rare to see child labour cases in Leh. Till date, we have only one case of child labour. However, due to lack of proper child shelter in Leh district, we are helpless. According to The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) of Children Act of 2015, it is a crime to keep a child in bondage for the purpose of employment.
 
Q. In our society many people adopts a child from a poor background for daily household work and along with it provides education to the child. Can we call this as a child labour?
 
Yes, we often see that children from poor economic backgrounds are adopted. We cannot call it as a child labour because we are providing proper education, three-time meal and all basic necessitates. Moreover, we are treating him or her as a part of a family member.  In a place like Leh, the adoption is done with the parent’s consensus.
 
Q. How frequent department monitor or check on illegal practice. What are the different penalties if found guilty?
 
We do weekly or even alternative inspections depending upon the seasons.  The number of labour arrival is high in summer, frequent surprise inspections are made in this regard. Under the Building and Other construction workers Act, 25 inspections conducted in construction sites during the last two years. If anyone found guilty, an action will be taken as per law.
 
Q. What are the main challenges or issues a labour is facing?
 
Payment of wages is the main issue in our society. It is the duty of an employer that the wages must be paid before the expiry of the seventh day.
 
However, labour department is there to welfare to its fullest. We have almost solved most of the cases filed in the department.  In 2016 and 2017, 62 cases have been launched out of which 61 cases have been solved.
 
Under the workers compensation during the year 2016-2017, out of 4 cases, 3 has been solved.
 
In the year of 2016 and 2017, 81 cases are registered related to the payment of wages and all the cases were resolved and a fine of ₹ 1.063 Lakh has been collected.
 
Q. How well the employers and employees aware of their rights and duties. How to make them well aware?
 
Now a day’s most of the employers and employee are aware of their rights. Local labours are highly aware of their rights and benefits.  The benefits and various other welfare schemes can only be claimed by the registered labours. To avail, the benefits labour must submit an application with the mentioned document like Proof of age, Employee Certificate.
 
We organize awareness camps for labour in far flung areas with an aim to inform about their rights and benefits. We further give radio and TV talks to reach out to the people at the mass level.
 
Message to the readers
 
While renting a room, the owner should do the necessary verification and registration of the tenant in the nearest Police station.

 
                   
 
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