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Meghalaya Govt must immediately protect livelihoods and release financial assistance

Meghalaya Govt must immediately protect livelihoods and release financial assistance

Eastern Times, New Delhi : National Alliance of People’s Movements expresses full solidarity with social activist Angela Rangad who has been compelled by government inaction to embark on a protest sit-in for over four days at the gates of the Secretariat in Shillong, to ensure the release of the financial assistance promised to marginalized workers.

The struggle to ensure the distribution of the Rs. 52 crores promised in March 2020 under the Chief Minister’s Relief Against Wage Loss (CRAWL) has gone on for over a year, with the involvement of Thma u Rangli (TUR), the collective which Angela is part of. The financial assistance was intended to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on unorganized sector workers like domestic workers, street vendors, and daily wager workers.

An RTI filed by TUR in November 2020 showed irregularities not only in registering the workers entitled to this cash transfer, but also in transferring the promised amount of INR 2100, corresponding to compensation for 3 weeks. The disbursement of the Rs. 5,000/- intended for each labourer registered under the Meghalaya Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board (MBOCWWB) is similarly pending and has failed to provide the necessary relief.

The Govt of Meghalaya, and the Deputy CM and Minister in charge Labour, Mr. Prestone Tynsong have been blatantly refusing to acknowledge any irregularity.

In spite of prior demands by TUR, and other organizations, it is alleged that the Govt. of Meghalaya has refused to take action and make available the financial assistance that the workers are entitled to. Unsurprisingly, the Govt. is more preoccupied with ensuring the well-being of the rich, leaving the working classes to suffer the impact of loss of livelihood sources and access to food, healthcare and shelter.

National Alliance of People’s Movements supports the claims of the unorganized workers of Meghalaya, and Angela Rangad’s protest and demands immediate action by the Govt of Meghalaya, and the Deputy CM, Prestone Tynsong, to:

(i) Ensure registration of all unorganized sector workers under CRAWL, and releasing the INR 2,100/- immediately to all.

(ii) Ensure release of INR 5,000/- to all labourers registered under the Meghalaya Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board.

(iii) Consolidate the MLA fund for the year and using the amount to support the families of unorganized sector workers, with financial assistance of INR 5,000 in two instalments.

(iv) Utilize 20% of the salaries of Class I officers and tax refunds for IAS and IPS officers, to cover out of pocket expenses for covid-affected working class people during the pandemic.

(v) Ensure 200 person-days work under NREGA, annually across Meghalaya, with Rs. 600 as the per day wage.

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