Report by Kahnu Nanda: Jagatsinghpur: One decade after election for the two workers’ representatives on the Board of Trustees of Paradip Port Trust (PPT) was held at Paradeep on March 16.
As the election results yet waited to be declared officially but the votes polled in favour of different trade unions show that Paradeep port workers union led by Sudhakar Mantry and Utkal port and dock workers union guided by Bibhuti Ranjan Panda have secured eligible votes and emerged victorious for sending one worker representative each to the Paradeep port trust board.
As many as 8 trade unions operating in Paradeep and its 2312 members had declared eligible participate in the election and to cast their votes in ‘secret ballot’ for which 6 booths had been made in different locations at port town for the election.
According to the official sources as many as 2205 votes had polled and about 15 votes had found reject during counting of votes held aftermath the election.
Sources said that Paradeep port workers union has polled maximum 716 votes and followed by second highest Utakl port and dock workers union who gained 667 votes and other trade unions have drawn votes as Bharatiya Bandar Mazdor Sangha 18, Paradeep Bandar Sramika Union 250, Paradeep port Bandar Sramika union 29, Paradeep port dock and construction union 45, Paradeep port dock and Mazdoor union 206 and Paradeep port Sramik Sangathan 259, non official reports said. Deputy Chief labour commissioner [Central] had been appointed as returning officer for the election and who will declare the poll results officially on 20 March.
According to the provision under section 3 of major port trust Act 1963 adequate labour representation would be mandatory in the board of trustees in each port and they would be elected through their trade unions with a gap of two years.
The election for workers’ representatives to the PPT’s Board of Trustees was held in November 2002, Later when PPT tried to hold the election in 2004, 74 persons - who were involved in cleaning, handling and forwarding jobs in the Paradeep port - appealed to the Orissa High Court that they be given voting rights as they were also members of various trade unions. Hearing the petition, the HC stayed the election.
While disposing the case High Court in September 2011directed PPT conducting the workers representatives election following which, the Deputy Chief Labour Commissioner (Central) issued a notification for the election to be held on March 16.
Sources said the employees who are paid by PPT are only entitled to cast votes in the election. Though there are four categories of workers - Departmental Workers, 1979 Scheme Workers, 1994 Scheme Workers and Women, Cleaning Gang Workers - those covered under the 1994 Scheme have been debarred from participating in the election as they are not paid by the PPT.
As per the official reports, 1,572 Departmental Workers, 721 number 1979 Scheme Workers and 41 from Women Cleaning Gang Workers were eligible for voting. Meanwhile according to poll provision the trade union who secured minimum 30 percent votes during the poll is eligible sending one labour representative to port trust board, as consequence Paradeep port workers union who had bagged 716 votes has resolved sending its leader Sudhakar Mantry to the PPT trust board, said union general secretary Ananta Das,
However Utkal port and dock workers union who got second highest 667 votes has proposed sending former MP and union president Pravat Samantray to the PPT trust board, informed union general secretary Bibhuti Ranjan Panda.
However reports said that Sudhakar Mantry had earlier represented to the PPT trust board two times in the year 1990-92 and 1992-94 and Pravat Samantray had earlier represented to trust board in the year 1988-90.
PPT authorities had made elaborate arrangements for smooth conducting the election for which 6 polling booths had established in different locations of port town and poll had resumed 7 Am to 4 Pm.