People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 23

June 06, 2010


Transport Workers Hold Relay Satyagraha


FROM May 3 to 6, the All India Road Transport Workers Federation (AIRTWF) organised a relay satyagraha before parliament and a rally by transport workers from all over the country.


The AIRTWF has held that though transport has a vital and important role in the social and economic development of the country, the central government is not giving due attention to this important sector. The working conditions of the road transport workers, especially in the unorganised sector, are very poor and there is for the workers no social security with the financial assistance from the central government or state governments.


The AIRTWF had represented the matter to the prime minister of India after a march to parliament on March 7, 2006. Under directions from the prime minister, the V V Giri National Labour Institute had then made a detailed study and submitted a report on the steps needed for betterment of transport industry and workers. But the government of India has not taken any step to implement its recommendations. It was thus that the AIRTWF felt compelled to launch a series of agitations, including the latest relay satyagraha.


The main demands of the AIRTWF are the declaration of a national transport policy, pension as a social security to unorganised workers, amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act and Motor Transport Workers Act, accident compensation, appointment letters to all workers, financial assistance to the transport undertakings, stop to the harassment by police and motor vehicle department officials, rejection of the Law Commission recommendations to enhance punishment for accidents, reduction in petrol and diesel prices, etc. Thousands of motor transport workers participated in the relay satyagraha and the parliament march.


Federation leaders later gave a memorandum to the union transport minister.


The federation has decided to organise a nationwide strike if the demands are not settled.


The satyagraha was inaugurated by Basudeb Acharia. M K Pandhe, A K Padhnabhan, Tapan Sen, Mohammed Amin, Shyamal Chakraborty, K K Divakaran and Vaikom Viswan addressed the gathering. Kerala minister P K Gurudasan, P Karunakaran, M P Rajesh, Sampat, Balagopal, Biju and S K Suphal (AP) also addressed it.


The satyagraha was organised under the leadership of Nepal Dev Bhattacharya, P V Krishnan, K Chandrasekhara Pillai, T K Rajan (Kerala), M R G Pillai, K S Rathore (Rajasthan), Ram Asray Yadav, Harinarayan (Haryana), Sucha Singh (Punjab), Jiban Saha (West Bengal), A P Anpazhagan (Tamilnadu), R Laxmaiah (AP) Radha Raman Sarangi (Orissa), and Raj Kumar Jha (Bihar).