‘Strong action for denial of minimum wages’

Bhubaneswar: Labour minister Prafulla Mallick has warned that strong action would be taken against employers and contractors if they fail to pay the minimum wages fixed by the government for workers.

On May Day, the State government increased the minimum wages for daily labourers engaged in various industrial and construction activities in the State.

Chief minister Naveen Patnaik announced that unskilled labourers would get Rs 200 per day while semi-skilled labourers would get Rs 220. For skilled and highly skilled labourers, it has been fixed at Rs 240 and Rs 260 respectively.

As per law, an employer violating the norms regarding minimum wages is liable for imprisonment up to six months along with penalty.

However, a look at a government report on the enforcement of such legal action taken in case of violation reveals a different story. According to the report, 426 cases pertaining to non-payment of minimum wages were registered last year. But action has been initiated against only one violator so far.