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April 17 holiday fiat for steel city, Adityapur

Employees working at industries in Jamshedpur and neighbouring Adityapur can count April 17 as a holiday.

East Singhbhum deputy commissioner-cum-returning officer for Jamshedpur Amitabh Kaushal has decided to write to deputy chief inspector factory and deputy labour commissioner of Jamshedpur, asking them to direct all factories and industries to give a paid leave to the employees on that day so that they can vote. The order will be also binding on biggies like Tata Steel.

“The Election Commission’s guidelines will be followed in right earnest. Letters will be issued to deputy chief factory inspector and deputy labour commissioner to ensure that all factories and industries in the region give a holiday on April 17 to facilitate voting. However, the employees can rest assured as their wages will not be deducted,” Kaushal said.

The state unit of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), which has asked all industrial units — big, small and medium scale — to conduct awareness drives to boost polling percentage under the Election Commission’s Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) programme — has also asked its members to grant paid leaves to the employees so that they can exercise their franchise at leisure.

Speaking to The Telegraph, chairman of task force on public policy, CII state chapter, S.K. Behera said voter awareness drives had already begun in industries across the state.

“We have around 1,500 small and medium scale industries and nearly 15 big industries under our fold. Letters have been sent to all of them to encourage their employees to vote along with their families during the general elections. Several industries have already held mass meetings among their employees, encouraging them to vote and making them understand the importance of every single vote for the betterment of country, state and the company’s future,” said Behera.

CII has already sent letters to all the industries to declare the respective voting days a holiday or rejig working shifts in such a way that they get a chance to turn up at the polling booths before 4pm.

“Most industries have three shifts and we have asked the units to either declare the voting day a holiday or rotate employees shift-wise in such a manner that everyone gets an opportunity to cast vote. We are doing our bit to reduce the gap between the registered electorate and actual number of voters,” said Behera.

Section 35 (B) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, categorically mentions that any person employed in a factory, industry or commercial establishment should be granted a holiday on the day of voting. No wage shall be deducted from any such person on account of the holiday. If an employer contravenes provision of this section, then such employer shall be punishable with fine that may extend to Rs 500.