Panvel: 800 registered representatives from 33 districts in Maharashtra State and thousands of representatives of various organisations and participants from Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi and America are participating in the fasting on May 1, from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. to raise awareness for and express gratitude, sympathy and constitutional responsibility to the unorganized toiling workers in the country, informed Ulka Mahajan of Sarvahara Jan Andolan.
She, along with Dr. Baba Adhav, Subhash Lomteen, Chandan Kumar, Nitin Pawar, Mukta Srivastav and other prominent social activists representing various NGOs working for different sections of the working class, that include construction workers, migrant labourers, shelter home inmates, pregnant women whose delivery date is approaching, farms waiting to be harvested, children waiting for their parents, brick kiln workers, hawkers, loaders, farm workers, sanitation workers, house maids workers in dhabas and eateries, fisherfolks, nomads, tribals, dalits and the homeless, earlier appealed to citizens to participate in the hunger protest from sunrise to sunset on International Labour Day and Maharashtra Day to raise awareness about the constitutional responsibility of the society and the government towards the unorganised labour force and to express respect, gratitude and charitable disposition towards those ,on whose contribution and toil, the whole nation and nation’s prosperity depend. These people constitute 40 per cent of the Indian population and contribute 60 per cent of the nation’s GDP, informed Ulka Mahajan.
In the said appeal, calling the people to participate in the fasting for those toilers who have borne the maximum brunt of this lockdown, they wished to express their social commitment and faith towards their nation and the people serving the motherland. The appeal recalled the words of late Lokshahir Annabhau Sathe, who insisted that ‘the earth is not poised on the hood of Sheshnaag, but on the palm of the toiling mass of people’.
‘Yet, these people find no place in the system of affairs, lakhs of families are without ration cards. The government is doing something for the poor card holders and some of these people. NGOs and corporate houses too are pooling in. But this is not enough. Ration should be provided to all for coming two months, otherwise we will condemn these people to starvation, causing chaos and unrest, which would be more fatal than the coronavirus. Maharashtra has much to learn from Kerala, Delhi and Chattisgarh governments. It is the constitutional responsibility of the State to take steps in that direction’, the appeal asserted.
The one-day hunger protest is aimed at alerting the citizens and the government about the following: 1. To combat hunger – all needy people irrespective of whether they are ration card holders should get free food-grains. 2. Arrange to take the migrant labourers to their hometown/ villages at the earliest. 3. Activate the administration at the taluka and district levels to ensure payment of pending wages and due wages to labourers, whose jobs were suspended due to the lockdown. 4. Essential services workers be paid double wages and secure their life with insurance of Rs. 50 lakhs. 5. Deposit minimum wages directly in the account of construction/NREGA workers on government record, as they were forced to lose work due to the lockdown. 6. Do not legislate policies and laws that are anti-employees by putting the burden of rise in cost index on them. 7. Farmers be compensated for loss of farm produce during lockdown. 8. Discuss with experts in various fields and then decide the strategy for ending the lockdown.
The registered participants in the fasting stir include volunteers of various NGOs, leaders, academicians, artistes, dramatists and other professionals, added Ulka Mahajan.