Vizag gas leak: Activists demand action against LG Polymers

The Times of India | May 07, 2020

VIJAYAWADA: Civic rights activists in Visakhapatnam, AP, on Thursday demanded urgent action against the management of LG Polymers, a gas leak at whose. unit killed at least 8 people this morning whose unit killed at least 8 people this morning.

Styrene, a toxic chemical, is reported to have leaked from their storage tanks at the LG unit in RR Venkatapuram area early this morning. The gas spread silently through the night, affecting people asleep in their homes and their domestic animals tethered or coralled close-by. The factory was restarted recently after more than a month of lockdown ordered by the government to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus. Read more

Frequent mishaps mar safety record of Vizag

The Hindu | May 07, 2020

The major accident at LG Chem, a South Korean company, leading to leakage of styrene liquid on Thursday has once again brought into focus the fact that Visakhapatnam, the major industrial hub of Andhra Pradesh, is sitting on a powder keg.

The city known for its topography like a spoon-shaped basin with hill ranges in three sides and the Bay of Bengal on the other, has little scope for an escape route by the two million-plus residents in the event of a major catastrophe. Already, industrial pollution has reached alarming proportions adversely affecting critical mass. Read more

‘Post Facto’ Environmental Clearance Set to be New Normal in India

NEWS Click | May 04, 2020

The draft notification pushed during the lockdown, in more ways than one, tries to minimise public participation in determining impacts of any particular industrial project on livelihoods and environment.

New Delhi: In what could spell catastrophe for the lives and livelihoods of millions of citizens across the country, the Central government has sought to introduce new rules whereby environmental clearances can be granted to industrial projects on a post facto basis. That is, projects that have commenced operations – by way of construction, installation, excavation, production, etc – without obtaining necessary clearances can be legalised as per provisions of the Draft Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, 2020 when it comes into effect. Read more

Rs 52,000 crore funds lying ‘idle’: Plea to pay 50% wages to construction workers | April 19, 2020

Three civil rights groups, two of them working in Gujarat, have asked Union minister for labour and employment Santosh Gangwar to ensure that the Government of India should begin using “the unspent fund of the Building and Other Construction Workers’ Welfare (BOCWW) Cess Fund”, amounting to Rs 52,000 crore, as emergency financial package.
A representation to the minister signed by senior activists of the Mines, Minerals and People (MM&P), Bandhkam Majdoor Sangthan, Ahmedabad, and the Akhil Gujarat Shramyogi Kadar Union, said, the countrywide lockdown announced to arrest the community transmission of Covid-19 “has pushed the unorganized sector workers into dire economic crisis”, adding, the amount should be used to pay 50% of the minimum wages to those registered with different BOCWW boards.

Claiming to work for the social security of the unorganized sector workers, migrants and mine workers for the last 25 years, the groups said, different state governments and Union territories, including Gujarat, have been collecting one to two percent of cess of the value of construction projects under the BOCWW Cess Act, 1996 (excluding the cost of land).

However, regretting that only a “minor percent of the money so collected has been utilized so far”, the representation said, this has led to the accumulation of “unspent balances year after year”, and as per the latest information, “the unspent BOCWW Fund amounts to Rs 52,000 crore.”

“Directions to CMs, lieutenant governors to utilize the BOCWW board funds for workers’ welfare is yet to see a response”

Regretting that the Union minister’s directions to different chief ministers and lieutenant governors of Union territories to utilize the BOCWW board funds for social welfare and for extending the emergency financial assistance package for such workers “yet to see a response”, the representation said, all workers who have been registered with the boards should be allocated “50% of the minimum wages as a subsistence unemployment allowance for next three months” through direct benefit transfer mode in their bank accounts.

The representation further said, “The labour supply contractors often do not register the entire workforce under them in order to bypass labour laws such as Provident Fund Act”, insisting, “The situation that has arisen now demands that all the construction workers need to be brought in to the social welfare benefits of BOCWW Boards.”

Hence, it suggested, the boards should issue directives to “cess collecting officers to get the list of all such unregistered construction workers from the licensed labour contractors operating as per the Labour Contractors Act, 1970 and register themselves as beneficiaries under respective BOCWW Boards.”

* Rebbapragada Ravi, chairperson, MM&P; Ashok Shrimali, secretary-general, MM&P; Lalsingh Pargi, Akhil Gujarat Shramyogi Kadar Union; and Vipul Pandya, general secretary, Bandhkam Majdoor Sangathan

Exempt DMF fund from I-T: Anubhav

Orissa Post | Feb 06, 2020

New Delhi: Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MP Anubhav Mohanty Thursday urged the Union government to exempt District Mineral Foundations (DMF) fund from income tax (I-T) citing that it would increase tax liability on the fund which in turn will adversely affect the upliftment of people belonging to mining affected areas. Read more

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