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NGO faces the stick

A JOINT team of Labour and Industrial Health and Safety Department officials inspected the centralised mid-day meal kitchen at Phooti Kothi on Tuesday to review working conditions and salary payment.

india Updated: Jan 19, 2006 14:03 IST

A JOINT team of Labour and Industrial Health and Safety Department officials inspected the centralised mid-day meal kitchen at Phooti Kothi on Tuesday to review working conditions and salary payment.

After the inspection, which lasted well into the evening, labour officials said a notice would be served to the Foundation for operating the kitchen without obtaining a factory licence. The kitchen, run by Hyderabad-based NGO Nandi Foundation, came under the scanner after a daily-wager’s hand was chopped off after being caught in the chapatti-making machine recently.

Inspecting officials reviewed conditions at the kitchen and expressed surprise that the NGO had failed to provide even rudimentary safety equipment like gloves to workers. Alarmingly, the officials discovered that workers employed by the Foundation neither possessed the requisite skills nor were imparted any training before being deployed at the 110 horsepower machine.

A few workers are also reported to have complained to the inspection team that they were being underpaid. “Formalities for appointing the workers were left incomplete and even the contractor who provided the daily wage labourers did not possess the necessary licence,” revealed Deputy Labour Commissioner Prabhat Dubey.

The Deputy Commissioner warned of strict action against the NGO if Ambay Rathore, the worker whose hand was chopped by the machine, was found to be a minor.

“Attempts are currently underway to ascertain his exact age and a heavy fine will be levied on the Foundation if he is below the minimum legal age,” declared Dubey. According to sources, workers at the centralised kitchen complained that the contractor was skimming off the top with the result that they were getting lesser wages than they were entitled to.

The inspection team was told that male workers were paid Rs 50 per day and women Rs 35, whereas the agreement between Nandi Foundation and Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) called for employees to be paid Rs 75 per day, irrespective of gender.

First Published: Jan 19, 2006 14:03 IST