Agartala: Amid the 21-day national lockdown over COVID-19 pandemic, a delegation of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) on Friday placed memorandum to the chief secretary of Tripura demanding immediate measures to ensure food and job security of the working class people.
The three-member delegation including former West Tripura MP Shankar Prasad Datta, former transport minister Manik Dey and Panchali Bhattacharjee placed a 11-point charter of demands which include financial support of Rs 5,000 for the labourers of organised and unorganised sectors.
Speaking in a press conference, Datta, who is the state secretary for CITU, said that the delegation on Friday met the chief secretary and had a detailed discussion over the present situation prevailing in the state following the national lockdown.
“A detailed discussion with the chief secretary was held where we have extended our support to the lockdown announced by the Centre and state government as a precautionary measure against the spread of COVID-19,” Datta said.
He also said that although they supported the lockdown the state has incurred losses following the lockdown while many are facing difficulties.
“We have seen that the state government has taken a number of steps to ensure the smooth livelihood across the state but we have also suggested a number of things that need to be considered by the state government,” Datta added.
The CITU has announced to extend their full support to the state and the authorities in every possible way they can help.
CITU state president Manik Dey said that they have demanded distribution of hand gloves and masks for all the essential service workers like the health staff in the hospital and mid-day meal, anganwadi and asha workers to ensure proper hygiene.
“We have demanded that the state government must ensure that all the private sector employees who were forced to stay at home get the salaries. The labour department must issue a directive and ensure that the private companies pay the salaries,” Dey said.
He also said that demand for one extra month of social pension in addition to 12 months’ pension for the beneficiaries was sought by the CITU delegation.
“The tea estate labourers are the worst affected following the lockdown as they are facing a massive shortage of food and essential commodities. Rice is not sufficient for the survival of the poor people as cash is required to purchase other essential commodities,” Dey added.
The leaders have also demanded free ration until normalcy returns as the tribal area belts and working-class people who do not have ration cards are starving in some places.
Meanwhile, Opposition CPI-M MLAs have announced to donate 25% of their monthly salaries and allowances to the chief minister’s relief fund.
A letter written to the chief minister read, “The government of Tripura has started taking some measures to help the people. In this necessary endeavour of the govt, the sitting MLAs belonging to CPI(M) desire to be involved.”
The letter also cited that the CPI-M MLAs have resolved to donate 25% of their monthly salaries and allowances to the relief fund of the chief minister for the period of March to May 2020.
The donation would start from this month through bank cheques, the letter informed.