Thursday, February 29, 2024

Work permit system still a long way off

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JAC deadline ends; Labour dept cites manpower problem

By Our Reporter

 SHILLONG: The Joint Action Committee (JAC) on Influx (a conglomerate of various prominent NGOs) is scheduled to meet next week to decide on their future course of action after the Government failed to response to their demand for implementing the work permit system in the State.

“We had given the government a deadline of August 31 to comply with our demands. The Government instead has only given us only the copy of the minutes of the last meeting which wad held earlier this year,” JAC member and KSU general secretary Hamlet Dohling informed on Wednesday.

He said that in the last meeting, the Government had asked the JAC delegation to give them three months’ time for implementation of the work permit system.

“During this whole period, the Government has only constituted a monitoring committee to look into the implementation of the work permit system,” Dohling said, adding that this monitoring is useless until and unless the work permit system is implemented.

Meanwhile, official sources revealed that the State Government is still not prepared to implement this system in the State.

“It is impossible for the Labour department to implement the work permit system since it is already understaffed,” official sources said.

At present, the Labour department has only one inspector in each of the seven districts, sources said, while adding that the department would require not less than 25 staff more including officers to implement the work permit system.

Citing an example that departments like Transport and Taxation have their own enforcement wing, official sources said that the Labour department is yet to have an enforcement which is necessary in case the Government decides to implement the work permit system.

According to official sources, the Labour department in Tripura has around 10 inspectors in each of the districts.

“If the same number of Labour inspectors is attached to every district in the State, there would not be any difficulty to successfully implement the work permit system,” official sources pointed out.

Citing huge deficit of man power, sources also pointed out that there was no scope for early implementation of the much-talked anti-influx mechanisms including work permit system until and unless the government does some “soul searching exercise” to fulfil its long-pending commitment.

Sources also recalled how things started to move in the right direction in 2008 when the Cabinet had approved the amendment to the Inter State Migrant Workmen Regulation Act, 1979 (amended in 1985) to give more powers to the law-enforcing agencies to check influx and regulate the employment of migrants in the State.

Recently several NGOs including KSU and FKJGP had submitted a representation to Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma asking him to find out immediate mechanisms especially to implement work permit system to check unabated influx into the State.

The NGOs served a deadline to the State government to implement the mechanisms by August 31, failing which they would recourse to their own course of action.

Last week, Deputy Chief Minister In-charge Labour, Rowell Lyngdoh, made it clear that mechanisms relating to implementation of work permit system lies with the Task Force headed by the Chief Minister.

Lyngdoh, however, informed that matters relating to strengthening of the Labour department have already started, like issue of a notification on the Amendment of rules to the Inter-State Migrant Workmen Regulation Act, 1979 (amended in 1985) and purchase of vehicles.

Lyngdoh also regretted that his department was unable to appoint more staff since the government through the Finance Department was yet to sanction money for creation of more posts.

The Labour department had, earlier, sent a proposal to the Finance department seeking nearly Rs 3 crore for appointment of more staff and purchase of vehicles to effectively implement the work permit system.

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