Tuesday 18 Jun 2024

Workers housed in Cuncolim Industrial Estate at risk to lives, in blatant violation of labour norms

Questions arise over action taken by authorities against violating industrial units

THE GOAN NETWORK | MAY 29, 2024, 11:08 PM IST
Workers housed in Cuncolim Industrial Estate at   risk to lives, in blatant violation of labour norms


Have the government authorities including the department of Industries, Labour, Industrial Development Corporation, besides the Inspector of Factories and Boilers initiated any action against the industrial units housing hundreds, if not thousands of workers, inside the Cuncolim Industrial Estate, in blatant violations of Labour norms?

Well, the tragic Verna accident that left four labourers dead while they were asleep in their makeshift accommodation has yet again sounded a wakeup call for the authorities to take proactive steps and ensure the safety of the industrial workers  inside the Cuncolim IDC.

Consider this: It was October 9, 2020 when the Cuncolim Industrial estate was struck by an ammonia gas tragedy killing a 22-year year old worker from Uttar Pradesh, besides injuring four workers. Take note, the deceased and the injured were not employees of the ill-fated industrial unit where the ammonia gas leakage took place, but the workers were all sleeping in a makeshift tin sheet accommodation in an adjoining industrial plot.

When the unit reported the ammonia gas leakage, the workers sleeping in the makeshift accommodation were the first to be affected by the industrial accident resulting in the death of the 22-year-old worker.

The incident had brought to the fore the large scale accommodation of industrial workers inside the industrial units in gross violation of the labour norms. 

Was any action initiated by the concerned authorities to ensure that the Cuncolim IDC does not house labourers working in the industrial units? Well, an inspection of the industrial units conducted two years later on July 14 provides an insight into the gravity of the issue at the Cuncolim IDC.

The joint inspection carried out by the Balli Primary Health Centre as part of anti-dengue measures found workers illegally staying inside the industrial estate in makeshift accommodation.

Then Balli Primary Health Officer Dr Mamata Kakodkar was prompt in writing a letter to the Cuncolim IDC Field Officer about the illegal accommodation of workers in the industrial units, but in vain.

Social activist, GOACAN Secretary Lorna Fernandes, who has been a part of the inspection teams to the industrial estates in the past, said that the industrial estates have been turned into makeshift housing facilities, raising fears that the workers and their families will be the first victims of industrial accidents.

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