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Official apathy and the failure of the governments to provide basic facilities like shades and administration’s negligence in ensuring adequate security measures at the work sites for the labourers, responsible for the tragic incident in a NREGA worksite at Y.Tippagutta in Telengana. This place is located in the Teeleru panchayat of Marikal Mandal in the district of Narayanpet.

On Wednesday morning, 30 MGNREGA workers were taking rest under the shade in the foot of a small hillock when the tragic incident took place. 10 women labourers were buried alive and 6 others gravely injured when loose soil and boulders fell on them. They were working on a trench cutting scheme under MGNREGA. Defeated by the scorching heat the group of workers decided to take shelter under the shade of the hillock.

A portion of the hill is carved by JCB work, which had taken place a few years ago and in absence of a proper shade, the NREGA workers resorted to this area as a resting place for months. In Telangana, for years Upadhi Hami Phone Radio, Dalit Bhaujan front along with other civil society groups are demanding that cloth shaminayas should be provided in the place of plastic sheets for shade. Plastic sheets do not serve the purpose and instead aggravate the heat and thus the workers are reluctant to use them in the summers. Also, notable that even the plastic sheets are not provided to all the work sites leaving the workers in a state of great plight. The MGNREGA workers are made to work without basic facilities and security measures which is a blatant violation of the act and human rights of workers.

The NREGA Sangharsh Morcha demand a judicial probe into the incident and also demand a compensation of Rs. 50 lakhs to each of the affected families . In addition to this the worker’s families should be immediately provided with the benefits and entitlements mentioned under the section-26 of schedule-II of the NREGA and the state notification in this regard.

The NREGA Sangharsh Morcha also demand that cloth tents should be made available at each and every worksite and a 100% audit of rights and entitlements including worksite facilities should be immediately ensured . The state administration should act urgently and take action against the erring officials for violating basic labour and human rights.

MGNREGA workers in the entire country are operating in the most difficult conditions, without basic facilities and security measures. It is unfortunate that the Government of India have repeatedly failed in ensuring security and protection for the millions of rural labourers who risk their lives everyday and work under adverse situations. This grave tragedy has again unmasked the insensitivity of the administrative system and exposed the lack of intent in the central government which has always neglected the issues of workers.

The NREGA Sangharsh Morcha strongly condemn both state and the central government for their irresponsible manner of functioning which has resulted into this tragic incident. We demand to the Central Government that the NREGA Workers should be automatically covered under the Building and other construction workers (BOCW) Act so that a safety net can be provided for millions of rural workers working under MGNREGA by linking them to various social security benefits.

It is most important that such fatalities are not repeated and we do not further lose anyone due to lack of security measures at the worksite. Thus, we also demand to the central government that standard minimum criteria should be set for the security and protection of the MGNREGA workers at the worksites.

For further clarifications please contact Chakradhar at 9246522344

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