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The High Court of Calcutta has directed the West Bengal Government to clear the pending dues of jute mill workers within a period of 4 weeks.

A bench headed by the Chief Justice Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan has directed the Labour Commissioner or any Principal Officer including the Principal Secretary of the department to ensure that the wages of the jute mill workers are paid as soon as possible. 

The Courts decision came on a petition filed by Trade Union Centre of India (TUCI), seeking payment of wages of the Jute mill workers in West Bengal who were not being paid their wages since the nationwide lockdown was announced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The petitioners submitted that various unions of the jute mills made a representation to the police stations and Chief Secretary of West Bengal over not being paid their wages seeking their intervention. However the petitioners alleged that “The government completely ignored the issues of the workmen and were reluctant to intervene into the matter in ensuring that the orders issued by its own office were complied”.

The jute mills which were closed for some time became operational in the state from April 20, 2020 after the Centre wrote several letters to the Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee to operationalize the jute mills in order to manufacture gunny bags for food grain packaging.

-India Legal Bureau

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