Demanding Justice for Invisibilized Mine Workers of Ballari

The Bellary Zilla Gani Karmikara Sangha, affiliated to the AICCTU undertook a Padyatra of 70 kms over 3 days from Sandur to Ballari from 11th to 13th October demanding compensation for the mine workers who had lost their employment when the mines were closed in 2011. Their struggle of over a decade is for their rightful share. The Padyatra was inaugurated by Social Activist Medha Patkar and social activist and Kannada actor, Chetan Ahimsa.

In her inaugural address, Medha Patkar noted the importance of the Padyatra, which was for livelihood, equal share, for change and for justice. She spoke of the need for the working class and the farmers’ struggle to come together to fight against the pro-corporate anti-people government that is looking to privatize ‘jal, jangal, zameen’, and the need to show that India is built by the farmers and workers. Stressing on the need to fight the communal agenda of the government, she said that we would not allow the people to be divided on the grounds of religion or caste. The Government is saying that they will only give minimum to the people – minimum wages, minimum support price, but we will not accept this – we want our equal share, she said. Our fight is for what is rightfully ours, our fight is to protect the core values of the Constitution, she declared.

Chetan Ahimsa spoke of how struggle is the only way for justice, and the manner in which the farmers’ struggle had compelled the Government to withdraw the anti-farmer laws. He declared his complete support for the mineworkers and their demands.

The workers started the Padyatra from Sandur highlighting that the Rs 19,443 crore that was collected as fines was all a product of their labour and demanding their rightful share in the same. Women, children, senior citizens were part of the Padyatra that went through several villages highlighting the demands of the workers, with the residents of the villages also assuring complete support to the struggle.

After 70 kms, the Padyatra culminated in a protest outside the office of the Deputy Commissioner, Ballari on 13th October. The workers were assured that their concerns would be looked into and the officials agreed that it was necessary to have a special rehabilitation plan for workers. A meeting was set up to discuss the special rehabilitation plan proposed by the workers under the chairmanship of the Ballari Deputy Commissioner.

The rights of workers can no longer be ignored and it is necessary that the Government immediately step in and set right the historical injustice that has been done to the mine-workers. The struggle of the mine-workers of Ballari is one for justice, dignified life and equal share.

- Maitreyi Krishnan

Mine Workers of Ballari


Invisibilized Mine Workers of Ballari