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Delhi HC issues notice to Kejriwal govt on plea seeking revision of fees to headload workers

ANI | Updated: Dec 02, 2021 15:12 IST


New Delhi [India], December 2 (ANI): The Delhi High Court on Thursday issued a notice to the Delhi government and others on a petition seeking to revise the piece rate fees payable to headload workers as per the inflation index.
Justice Rekha Palli asked the Delhi government, Delhi Agricultural Marketing Board and Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC), Azadpur to file a reply on the petition seeking to revise the piece rate fees payable to headload workers/palledars as per the inflation index of the Government of India.
The court was hearing a petition filed by Rashtriya Hamal Panchayat Evam Anya Asangathit Kamgar Union and was represented through advocate Prashant Bhushan.
The matter is now listed for Feb 16, 2022, for further hearing.
According to the petition, under Rule 36 of the Delhi Agricultural Produce Marketing (Regulation) General Rules, the respondents have the duty to fix the fees payable to palledars on a piece-rate basis for their work but these fees have not been statutorily revised since 1980, which is a gross violation of their legitimate right of fair remuneration considering the sharp surge in inflation and the continued depreciation of rupee over the last forty years.

As a result, headload workers have to face many challenges to meet the basic needs of themselves and their dependents. They cannot afford three full meals. Proper clothing, education, health, and a roof on the heads of their family members, the petitioner said.
The petitioner is the union of palledars, that is, headload workers who perform the back-breaking task of loading and unloading of all agricultural produce in the Mandis (agricultural markets) set up by the State of Delhi which were originally governed by the Delhi Agricultural Produce Marketing (Regulation) Act, 1976, which was replaced by the Delhi Agricultural Produce Marketing (Regulation) Act, 1998.
Members of the petitioner organization are predominantly those who work in the Azadpur mandi which is Asia's largest wholesale market for fruits and vegetables.
The petitioner has sought directions to constitute an inquiry commission to inquire into the plight of the headload workers/palledars and their working conditions in the agricultural markets of the State of Delhi.
The petitioner has also sought directions to the respondents to revise the piece rate fees payable to headload workers/palledars as per the inflation index of the Government of India.
The petitioner also urged to conduct a periodic survey to collect and maintain details of the headload workers/palledars working in the agricultural mandis of the State of Delhi and issue to all of them G category licenses and badges and to issue an appropriate writ, order or directions to the respondents to ensure that freight should be charged on basis of weight and not on piece rate to ensure that transporters do not overload the transport sacks/bundles in excess of 50 ks and action be taken as per law for violation thereof. (ANI)

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