AMC workers lodge atrocity case against civic chief over low wages

The striking sweepers and other workers of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) lodged a case against the Ahmedabad Municipal Commissioner Guruprasad Mohapatra and his deputy Devang Desai with zonal DCP office on Saturday for alleged "atrocities" perpetrated on them by giving them meager wages. More than 4,000 workers employed by AMC are on an indefinite strike over permanent employments and regular payscale. Several workers were detained on Friday. The workers demonstrated outside local courts too. The Gujarat Mazdoor Sabha (GMS), a sister organisation of the Jan Sangarsh Manch, is fighting the case for the sweepers.

GMS members stated that the workers were being paid Rs 105 for four hours of work or alternatively Rs 210 for eight hours of work. They have no leaves and are also not paid for overtime. The money they get is the minimum wage notified by government under the Minimum Wages Act.

Advocate Amrish Patel of GMS said, "Paying such abysmal low wages to workers who belong to the schedules caste not only amounts to forced labour under Article 23 of the Constitution, but also amounts to an offence under Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities Act). We have lodged a complaint against Mohapatra and Desai."

The complaint was handed over to DCP (Zone II) M L Ninama's office that has jurisdiction over the AMC office in Khamasa area. The personnel at the DCP office confirmed the receipt of application. Meanwhile, the workers continue to protest against minimum wages paid to them. They will hold a mega protest near Jhansi ki Rani statue at Shivranjini soon. The workers have been on a protest for about a week.

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