The Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIM-A) on Thursday issued a statement in response to a legal notice, sent by Gujarat High Court advocate Anand Yagnik regarding the clash between migrant workers hired by the premium institute and police on May 18, saying that the issues raised in the notice “do not stand the test of scrutiny”.
Advocate Anand Yagnik had sent a legal notice to the IIM-A, its director, the chief secretary to Gujarat government, the additional chief secretary of labour department, deputy labour commissioner and the Gujarat DGP on May 19 alleging violation of several labour laws for migrant labourers.
In the statement, the institute said that the unrest of the workers, employed at the IIM-A site in Vastrapur, was about the delay in obtaining travel permits and the arranging transportation by the authorities to take them back to their home states.
The notice has stated that the workers were not being paid wages due to the Covid-19 lockdown.
Denying this, the institute said that it does not have a pending bill as of the date of the serving of the legal notice.
“We invite anyone who is interested to check the records on this. All bills raised on us go through a process of certification by our Project Management Consultants, the architect for the project, and our own project manager/engineer and are then paid. We have verified that all due payments have been made to workers,” the statement read.
Replying to the allegation that IIM-A and the contractor wanted the workers to stay back to commence with the construction work as soon as the restrictions are eased out, the institute said, “‘The contractor co-ordinated with the administration for the repatriation of the workers. Workers from UP and Bihar were provided trains, but unfortunately the authorities did not arrange for trains to Jharkhand and West Bengal.”
The notice had also alleged that the workers were provided “inhumane accommodation facilities violating the labour laws”.
To this, the IIM-A stated that the location has all living facilities required for such colonies such as RO water, crèche, sanitation facilities, light, fan, and separate rows of accommodation for families and bachelors. A facility of a doctor for periodic health check-up is also made available.
Also, among the workers detained by the police two are reported to be tested Covid-19 positive. The notice had alleged that the institute did not take steps to test the workers properly.
“Workers were regularly checked for symptoms and none were reported. If as is being reported two workers have tested positive, then the contractor will comply with whatever steps are required for isolation and quarantine of the other workers,” the statement by the IIM-A read.
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