NHRC looks into Tamil Nadu garment workers’ condition aggressively

by Apparel Resources News-Desk

30-April-2019  |  4 mins read

Garment factory

The National Human Right Commission (NHRC), India, is actively looking into the media reports claiming denial of basic amenities to Tamil Nadu’s garment industry workers. Taking the suo motu cognizance of a media report highlighting the plight of thousands of the garment factory workers, NHRC issued a notice to the Chief Secretary, Government of Tamil Nadu calling for a detailed report in the matter.

As the state administration has not replied in the given period of 4 weeks, the commission has given another one-month time, issuing a warning that the Commission would issue a summon for his personal appearance for submission of the report, if the deadline is missed again. The first notice was issued on 21st Fab, 2019 and next action due date in this regard is 18th May 2019.

Tamil Nadu is one of India’s biggest states having major apparel and textile hubs like Tirupur, Coimbatore, Erode and Salem where thousands of factories, from spinning to garmenting, are operational and offer employment to around half a million people. The NHRC is a statutory public body under the Protection of Human Rights Act.

“The Commission vide its proceedings dated 21.02.2019, directed to call for a report from the Chief Secretary, Government of Tamil Nadu within four weeks. The period of four weeks has already elapsed and the report is yet to be received. In these circumstances, exercising its powers given u/s 13 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, the Commission would have issued summons for personal appearance of the authority concerned but a last and final opportunity is granted to the Chief Secretary, Government of Tamil Nadu for submission of the report within a period of four weeks, positively or the Commission would issue summons for his personal appearance for submission of the report,” NHRC says on its website with regard to action taken in this issue.

The media report is based on the interviews of some women garment industry workers, aired by three radio stations, set up across Tamil Nadu, during last year. “The Commission has observed that the contents of the news reports, if true, raise a serious issue of violation of human rights,” says NHRC.

According to the main media report, radio stations are giving voice to the thousands of garment workers, whose grievances remained unheard by the authorities, so far. A woman, working in a garment factory approached the radio station and narrated her story as to how she queued three times to use one of the only two toilets provided by the factory owner, for 200 employees where she is working in Chennai. She told during a radio broadcast that due to the scarcity of the toilets, the factory workers have been forced to use a corner of the mill as a toilet where waste cotton is discarded during the process. The humiliated lady decided to share her daily ordeal and the factory managers has now, reportedly, begun to add more toilets at her workplace.

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