Tamil Nadu bishops urge government to heed poor
By Rani HCM
Ooty: Tamil Nadu Bishops’ Council (TNBC) has urged the government to pay heed to the cry of the underprivileged traditional occupational groups in the southern Indian state.
This concern was raised at a seminar held at St. Theodore Sanatorium, Coonur, Ooty on June 7- 8 organized by CBCI Office for Labour in collaboration with TNBC.
More than 35 representatives from nine Catholic dioceses and a few movements working for the cause of the workers discussed extensively the issues and challenges of the unorganized workers of Tamil Nadu.
Archbishop Antony Anandarayar of Pondicherry and Cuddalore, chairman, TNBC Regional Labour Commission, exhorted the participants to be at the side of the poor workers and help them to avail the social security schemes allocated for them, respect the workers and give them the dignity of the work they are doing particularly the women workers.
The legislation on sexual harassment against women must be implemented in all the Church institutions he reminded.
The prelate condemned the uncivilized and inhuman behavior of the police officials on the poor laborers at Sterlite Copper factory in Thoothukudi. He along the participants observed two minutes silent prayer for the victims of the police attack at Thoothukudi (Tuticorin).
The seminar highlighted issues of migrants and refugees. They sought recourse to the key issues of Tamil Nadu such as migration, unorganized workers social security; need to form trade unions and political exploitation.
The dioceses will assist the migrants to register the migrants in the web portal www.wifmdm.com of CBCI Office for Labour for safe migration and help at the destination if required.
The seminar helped the participants to take steps towards the creation of awareness among the unorganized workers. Organizing the unorganized workers is an urgent need in Tamil Nadu, observed the group.
The participants also worked out a plan of action which includes sensitization of directors and core team members, dissolving internal conflicts and differences, voicing for humanitarian concerns, focusing on the government schemes and social security.
The dioceses will implement the steps taken for rescue, relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction. All the resource persons emphasized on the social teaching of the Catholic Church beginning with Pope Leo’s 1891 landmark social encyclical, Rerum Novarum ‘On Capital and Labour’ and continuing today the Church has had much to say about the rights and duties of the worker and of business.