People's Democracy

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


No. 38

September 23, 2012



                                        Construction Workers Hold Huge Rally


                                                                                                                                P R Krishnan


UNLIKE many of the demonstrations the historic Azad Maidan in South Mumbai witnessed in the recent past, the one held here on September 12 was a different one. This was a ten thousand strong rally of construction workers who are organised under the banner of the CITU led Maharashtra Bandhkam Kamgar Samanvaya Samiti. They came all the way from far-off places like Sholapur, Ichalkaranji, Kolhapur, Aurangabad, Jalna, Sangali, Nashik, Ahmadnagar, Pune and other centres.


A large number of the workers from these centres reached Mumbai the night before by trains and took shelter in railway stations and footpaths. They carried red flags and banners which depicted their demands. These workers were joined by a contingent of their counter-parts in Mumbai. By 11 a m the rally in the Maidan swelled to about 10,000 strong. There were a good number of womenfolk among them. They came focusing on and raising 22 point demands. The most important amongst the demands are provision for 20 per cent bonus, application of PF and ESI schemes and gratuity apart from establishment of district-wise boards for redressal of their problems in the state.


The government deployed a huge posse of police in and around the Azad Maidan.


The demonstrators at the Maidan were addressed by leaders from different districts while the state CITU president Narsayya Adam Master presided over the meeting. Among the speakers were state CITU vice president K L Bajaj and secretary Dr Vivek Monteiro.


While the meeting was on, invitation came from the state labour minister Hasan Mushrif that the organisers should depute a delegation for discussion to his chamber. This was cheered by the audience. Accordingly, a delegation led by Narsayya Adam Master met the labour minister. They submitted a memorandum to the minister listing their demands. Prominent amongst the others in delegation were M H Shaikh, Sitaram Thombare, Mahendara Singh, Bharma Kamble and Sayeed Ahamed.  The labour minister assured the delegation that he will take appropriate steps to redress the problems of construction workers and try to implement the demands listed in the memorandum.


After the meeting with the minister, the leader of the delegation, Narsayya Adam Master, explained the details of the talks to the workers who were waiting in the Maidan. He congratulated the workers for having come to Mumbai to stage this demonstration.