State wants to ease clo­sure norms for large fac­to­ries too

M’rash­tra bars con­struc­tion within 100 feet of hill ranges Cos With 300+ On Rolls Ac­count For 45% Of Work­force BEST set to hike fares by up to ₹ 12 for long trips

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - FRONT PAGE - @times­group.com

Mum­bai: There can be no new con­struc­tion within 100 feet of foothills across the state. The area will have to be main­tained as an open space and re­served as a node­vel­op­ment zone.

Two years af­ter the Pune bench of the National Green Tri­bunal ruled that no per­mis­sion must be granted for build­ing con­struc­tion on hill tops (where the slope ra­tio is 1:5) as well as 100 feet around the foothills, the state ur­ban de­vel­op­ment depart­ment has di­rected all mu­nic­i­pal cor­po­ra­tions and coun­cils across Ma­ha­rash­tra to im­ple­ment the or­der.

There are es­sen­tially three hill ranges in the sub­urbs close to Mum­bai—the Kharghar range (part of the Sahyadris), the Ulwe hills and those along the ThaneBe­la­pur belt, where quar­ry­ing also hap­pens. Mum­bai: Ma­ha­rash­tra’s pro­posed labour re­forms on fac­tory clo­sures and sack­ings go be­yond sev­eral states, in­clud­ing Ra­jasthan. If the pro­pos­als go through, all the 37,234 fac­to­ries in the state will have the op­tion of clos­ing down and sack­ing work­ers with­out seek­ing gov­ern­ment per­mis­sion.

Cur­rently, the In­dus­trial Dis­putes Act, 1947 al­lows fac­to­ries with fewer than 100 work­ers to close down and re­trench work­ers with­out seek­ing state clear­ances. The state labour depart­ment has pro­posed that the ex­emp­tion be ex­tended to fac­to­ries with less than 300 work­ers, a re­form al­ready in place in states in­clud­ing Ra­jasthan and Haryana. TOIhad re­ported this on November 11.

How­ever, the pro­posal fur­ther sug­gests that fac­to­ries with 300 or more work­ers also be al­lowed to close down and re­trench work­ers with­out state clear­ances if they give 60 days’ no­tice and 60 days com­pen­sa­tion to work­ers for each year of con­tin­u­ous ser­vice.

This pro­posal is sig­nif­i­cant be­cause 45% of the state’s fac­tory work­ers—the largest chunk—are em­ployed in fac­to­ries with 300 or more work­ers. The state has 1,365 such fac­to­ries em­ploy­ing 11.37 lakh of its 25.16 lakh fac­tory work­ers.

300+ Work­ers

Fac­to­ries can forgo govt per­mis­sion if they give 60 days’ no­tice and 60 days’ wages

“This pro­posal will pro­mote ease of business. It will also be ben­e­fi­cial to work­ers be­cause they cur­rently re­ceive 15 days’ com­pen­sa­tion for ev­ery year of con­tin­u­ous ser­vice if there is a clo­sure. The pro­posal in­creases their com­pen­sa­tion,” said state labour sec­re­tary Ra­jesh Kumar. The state’s pro­pos­als are pat­terned on the Cen­tre’s model law. Mum­bai: The BEST com­mit­tee on Tues­day voted for a bus fare hike rang­ing from Rs 1 to Rs 12 for dis­tances of over 4km, re­ports Somit Sen. No hike has been rec­om­mended for shorter dis­tances. The BMC’s ap­proval is needed be­fore the pro­posal is sent to the Mum­bai Met­ro­pol­i­tan Re­gion Trans­port Au­thor­ity for fi­nal fare re­vi­sion.

Com­muters have strongly op­posed the hike, say­ing BEST should first im­prove its ser­vices and bus fre­quency. “Even if the fare hike is zero for those trav­el­ling up to 6km, a big num­ber of com­muters take buses for jour­neys be­tween 4km and 30km. The hike will pinch their pock­ets,” Ravin­dra Gaik­wad, a com­muter from Thane, said.

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