No Mumbai bandh tomorrow

Uddhav says mill workers' unions satisfied with CM's response to their demands

The Shiv Sena-BJP-RPI alliance has called off its Mumbai Bandh plan on Monday after Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan met leaders of mill workers on Saturday. The decision was announced by Sena's executive president Uddhav Thackeray in the presence of BJP leader Gopinath Munde, RPI leader Ramdas Athawale and leaders of mill workers' unions.

"While talking to the chief minister, I had stressed the need for him to talk to the leaders of mill workers," Thackeray said, "And after meeting him, leaders of mill workers said they were satisfied with the chief minister's positive attitude... He had accepted their crucial demands. So we have decided to defer our bandh. If the CM fails to show results within three months, we'll resort to a bandh."

General secretary of the Girni Kamgar Sangharsh Samiti, Datta Iswalkar, said the unions had rejected the offer of money for houses outright and insisted that mill workers should get houses. He said the chief minister had accepted the demands of providing houses to all mill workers who were on the rolls on January 1, 1982; making heirs eligible for houses; forming a panel to decide the price of houses in three months; accommodating workers of a mill in houses built on the land of the same mill through lottery system and finding a solution in two months on how to increase the number of houses.

An official present at the CM's meeting said 7,000 houses were ready and 9,000 more would be built on nine hectares, taking the number of houses available to 16,000. He said there was a demand for 1.10 lakh houses. The official also said a decision was yet to be taken on some issues like the workers refusing to move out of Mumbai and the demand for relaxing norms of eligibility (like monthly income below Rs 12,000).

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