What started as a fight for MNREGA wages has now transformed into a movement for a Grievance Redressal Act. SPSS will spend 15 days travelling across the Bihar educating people about the need for a suitable mechanism for grievance redressal.
In a dramatic sequence of events, SPSS mazdoors held captive a string of NREGA officials — Kurhani Block PO, the PRS’ of various Panchayats — for nearly 13 hours as the officals failed to come up with a suitable explanantion for the abysmally low wages pays for various works done across Panchayats in the area.
41.50, 44, 44.50, 56, 86, 105, 130.
These are daily-wages paid this year for different ‘road widening’ works in Mahant Maniyari, Paigambhar, Rampur Mani, Bishampur and Madhaul, all Panchayats in rural Muzaffarpur in Bihar. The minimum wage — and the stipulated NREGA wage for a day’s work — is 162, roughly three-and-a-half times the median of that sequence above.
The labourers went on strike in the Panchayat Bhavan at Mahant Maniyari, where SPSS is headquartered. On the second day, officials from the block arrived to negotiate. Unsatisfied with the manner in which things were explained, SPSS mazdoors simply refused to let the officials leave. This resulted in a series of other state officials — the SI, the SPO and the DDC to come to Mahant Maniyari. Finally, in the middle of the night, the striking labourers let the officials leave after a promise to pay the correct wages was extracted from the SDO and the DSP within a week. An FIR was filed by the officials against SPSS’ Sanjay Sahni.
Subsequently, the labourers also protested in the collector’s office.
The strike is ongoing as the wages haven’t been paid yet.