Workers throng a not so run-of-the-mill rally

Jul 23, 2013, 01:47 IST | Iram Siddique

Traffic near CST was hit, as nearly 2,000 mill workers joined in a demonstration yesterday, demanding that the government provide them accommodation in the city

Shivaji Surjirao Bhosle, who once worked in the renowned Kohinoor mills in central Mumbai, is now a resident of Koregao taluka of Satara district. But yesterday he was in the city, walking alongside hundreds of others, demanding the government give him his dream home.

Standing together: About 2,000 mill workers participated in a rally near CST yesterday. Pic/Atul Kamble

“It’s been quite a long struggle and still nothing seems to be happening. I have come all they way from Satara for this rally. I have no relatives here, so I am staying at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST). I expect to return home tomorrow, but let’s see what happens,” he said.

Bhosle’s dream is shared by about 1,48,000 mill workers now residing in different parts of the state. About 2,000 of them partook in the rally organised by Vikar Kagaar Ekjut.

The demonstrators were finally able to meet state assembly speaker Dilip Walse-Patil around noon. “We are told that he would arrange a meeting with the concerned minister and later would also speak to the chief minister regarding the issue,” said Baban More, head of National Textile Corporation Limited for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

Speaking to MiD DAY, another disillusioned mill worker Sukhdao Dinkar Veer said, “I hope that some conclusion is reached and we finally get something. We have been trying to get things moving for years, but there’s been no progress. I’ll now catch a train back to my village.”

The rally caused a major traffic jam at CST, but traffic police took control of the situation, with personnel being posted all along the route right up to Azad Maidan. However, the rally, unlike previous years, lacked the presence of a political leader.

When asked about the ebbing enthusiasm and numbers, BK Ambre, head of Sarva Shramik Vibhag, said, “The fall in number of mill workers is mainly because of rains. But the cause is certainly not losing momentum.”

1.48 L
The number of former mill workers hoping to find accommodations in Mumbai. Of them 2,000 attended the rally. The demonstrators were finally able to meet state assembly speaker Dilip Walse-Patil 

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