For the following demands:
- Rs. 5 lakh compensation to the mining workers who lost their job in 2011.
- 5 acres of land with irrigation facility for the family of mining workers
- Re-employment for the workers who lost their job in Class “A” and “B” mines where work has resumed.
- A monthly pension of Rs. 5,000/- for workers who have reached superannuation age
- Site and houses for mining workers
- Establishment of community facilities like Anganwadi, Community Halls, Library, Labor Center and Primary Health Centres
- Free medical service for mining workers
- Free education for the children of mining workers and financial assistance for higher education. The condition of the workers who had been and are working in the iron ore mines of Bellary district has been deplorable since the beginning. These workers are from the most vulnerable and marginalized communities and were not paid minimum wages and were doing life-threatening work without any basic amenities and proper safety equipment. It is through the exploitation of these workers that mine owners have made and continue to make huge profits. However, the government failed to provide proper support to workers even though the laws for the benefit and welfare of workers were being violated on a large scale in the mines of Bellary. In July, 2011, the Hon’ble Supreme Court ordered the closure of all mines to prevent illegal mining. As a result, more than 25,000 workers lost their jobs and were forced into the streets without compensation or rehabilitation. The mine owners used the Supreme Court order as a pretext to deny the workers compensation and other statutory rights. Due to this, the families of the workers had to face huge hardship and are currently living on the streets without any means of livelihood. The Government has set up the Karnataka Minerals Environment Rehabilitation Corporation (KMERC) to implement a comprehensive environmental plan for mine-affected areas. The Supreme Court has made it clear that the social infrastructure development component under this scheme also includes a scheme to provide livelihood to the workers. However, the Corporation has not implemented a single scheme for the welfare of mine workers till date. Thus the Bellary Mine Workers’ Organization filed a Writ Petition (Civil) no. 448/2018 before the Supreme Court. So far, the Government has collected over Rs. 19,000 Crores as fines from the mining companies. However, no amount has been allotted to the welfare of the workers. The Union has also approached all the concerned authorities seeking for a plan to be made for the rehabilitation of the workers, and the KMERC has also sought that the Deputy Commissioner, Ballari to prepare the same. However, the same is still to be done. Hence, the Bellary Zilla Gani Karmikara Sangha (affiliated to AICCTU) is organizing a padhyatra with the aggrieved mining workers to Bellary from Sandur to Bellary from 11th to 13th October, 2022.
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