Vashi (Maharashtra), Oct 25 (IANS) More than one lakh head-loaders across Maharashtra, who launched an indefinite strike Monday, called off the agitation by late evening after assurances from the state government that their demands would be met within a month.
‘Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan has issued orders through his principal secretary assuring us that our demands will be met in a month. Hence, we have called off the strike,’ said Shashikant Shinde, executive president of Maharashtra Rajya Mathadi Transport and General Kamgar Union.
The head-loaders were demanding better wages and housing facilities from the state government.
The union controls the loading and unloading of food stocks at all the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committees (APMCs) across the state.
‘Some of the demands are better wages and housing for our workers. We have also demanded a ban on direct sourcing of vegetables and fruits by corporates, bypassing the APMCs,’ Shinde said.
Shinde said there were 7,500 low-cost houses constructed by the City and Industrial Development Corporation in Navi Mumbai in 1994. ‘Only a few of them have been allotted to the Mathadi (head-loaders) union members. The vacant homes have been occupied by non-union workers,’ said Shinde.
Various AMPC centres across have now heaved a sigh of relief as they would have been severely affected due to the strike. ‘The strike would have led to a sharp increase in prices of fruits, vegetables and foodgrains,’ an APMC official said.
‘We are glad the strike has been called off as it would have affected the festive season,’ he said.
Nearly 2,000 trucks and tempos load and unload food items at the APMC market in Vashi everyday. ‘These have increased in the last few days owing to the festive season,’ the official said.