Opposition stalls Jharkhand assembly over labour bills

Ranchi, Dec 21 (IANS) The opposition parties on Monday protested against two labour-related bills passed last week, leading to chaos and three adjournments of the Jharkhand assembly.

While the JMM, Congress and other opposition parties described as “anti-labour” the Contract Labour Amendment Act 2015 and Factory Amendment Act 2015 – which were passed by voice vote last Friday – the government asked the opposition what prevented them from bringing amendments to the bills.

“The assembly runs on certain rules. The bills have been passed. The opposition should have brought amendments when the bills were tabled Friday,” Jharkhand Parliamentary Affairs Minister Saryu Rai said, trying to pacify the agitated opposition.

Leader of opposition and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leader Hemant Soren raised the issue at 11 a.m. when the house assembled after a two-day break while other opposition members held placards to register their protest.

“The Contract Labour Amendment Act 2015 and factory Amendment Act 2015 are anti- labour. The government passed the bill as it enjoys majority in the house. Both bills are against labour and people of the state,” said Hemant Soren.

As members of JMM, Congress and other parties raided the well of the house and continued their noisy protests for half an hour, Speaker Dinesh Oraon adjourned the house till 11.40 a.m.

When the house reassembled, the opposition members again came into the well, shouting slogans and showing placards.

The speaker adjourned the house the second time till noon.

The protests continued when the house reconvened for the third time at noon, leading to another adjournment till 2 p.m.

Jharkhand Parliamentary Affairs Minister Saryu Rai tried, in vain, to pacify the opposition at noon.

Later, Soren told reporters that the bills were against workers and the people as the factories have been allowed to hire contract workers with the minimum limit increasing from 10 to 20 and the upper limit going up from 20 to 40.

He said the opposition had requested that the bills be sent to the Select Committee, but that was rejected by the government.

The ruling party members termed the opposition attitude “unconstitutional”.

“First time in my life I have witnessed such an act of opposition. The opposition parties boycotted (the assembly) when the bills were tabled for discussion,” Urban Development Minister and BJP leader CP Singh told reporters.

“They did not bring any amendment. Now they are opposing the bills which have already been passed.”

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