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HindustanTimes Sat,26 Jul 2014

Industry feels the heat as labourers’ output dips

Arjun Sharma, Hindustan Times  Ludhiana, June 09, 2014
First Published: 11:33 IST(9/6/2014) | Last Updated: 11:42 IST(9/6/2014)

The increasing mercury is showing effects on citybased industry, with the scorching heat impacting the labourers’ productivity in various manufacturing units of the city. Thanks, to absence of facilities which would help them perform in the extreme heat.

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Over 10 lakh migrant labourers work in different cycle, knitwear, dyeing, auto parts and other industrial units of the city. However, reflecting the sad state of facilities for them, shockingly, labourers are not even provided with cold water in this scorching weather, let alone coolers or air-conditioned work premises.

Not to mention the numerous health issues that these workers can face by not consuming enough liquids in this weather. Already, a large number of labourers have complained of dehydration, heat stroke and water-borne diseases.

Consequently, industrialists have started feeling the effect of the heat wave on their labourers, which has turned into slow production.

Gurmeet Singh Kular, president of Federation of Industrial and Commercial Organisation (FICO), said the production in different units in Ludhiana had fallen owing to the heat.

“While on the one hand, efficiency of labourers has decreased during this time, there is also a shortage of labour in the city, as migrants solemnise marriage during this time of the year at their respective villages,” Kular said.

He added that MNREGA was another reason behind labour shortage for the past sometime. “Government should link our factories with MNREGA scheme so that the migrant labour has safe job oppor tunities here. Government could take the salary of these labourers in advance and provide them as per the norms,” Kular further said.

“It is a fact that hardly any manufacturing units have arrangements for labourers to tackle the heat. Small units cannot provide infrastructure required in extreme summer due to which the production of different products have fallen by at least 10% in the past weeks,” said Vinod Thapar, chairman of Knitwear Club.

Labour unions for long have been demanding better facilities for labourers. They claim that factory owners often bribe officials of department of labour to evade action against them due to failure in fulfilling labour laws.

Rajwinder, president of Textile Hoisery Kamgaar Union, said most of the factory owners had not even provided drinking water facility inside the premises. “A large number of migrant labourers are suffering from diseases due to intense heat, but this has failed to move the  FACTORY OWNERS.

RAJWINDER, president of Textile Hoisery Kamgaar Union factory owners. Even the department of labour has failed to do anything in this regard, which shows clear collusion of factory owners with the department officials,” Rajwinder added.

Dr Daljit Singh Pooni, chief medical officer (CMO), Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) Hospital, said not providing respite to the labourers from the extreme heat could cause several health problems, including heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke, which could even be fatal.

“Symptoms include weak, rapid pulse, low blood pressure, headache, nausea and dizziness, etc. Therefore, labourers should be provided cool environment to work and plenty of fluids to drink. Besides, intense physical exertion can cause electrolyte imbalance in the body, which can lead to body pains, and ultimately affect a person’s productivity at work,” he added..


 

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