Kerala: ISRO's Truck Blocked By Workers Demanding Rs 10 Lakh As "Gawking Charges"Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan

A group of workers and local people in Kerala's capital city of Thiruvananthapuram yesterday (5 September) blocked a truck belonging to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) demanding a "gawking charge" of as much as Rs 10 lakh, reports Hindustan Times.

The truck was laden with heavy equipment and was headed towards Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), which is a key wing of ISRO. As per VSSC officials, the truck was stranded for more than four hours.

Upon no resolution, VSSC had to reach out to Chief Minister (CM) Pinarayi Vijayan's office about the issue. Thereafter, State's Labour Minister V Sivankutty intervened and got the truck the permission to go through. It should be noted that this was achieved following several rounds of talks and protests.

It should be noted that this came just three days after the Kerala High Court had pulled up the State Government for not effectively implementing the law to get rid of the strange practice called ‘nokku kooli’ which means gawking wages.

The court had said, "The practice is damaging the image of Kerala. It should be eradicated. It gives a wrong perception about the state. It should be corrected."

Notably, the practice was abolished by the Kerala government in 2018. Under the practice people are charged by licenced members of the head load workers by not doing any work. The practice is still continuing in many parts of the state under the backing of militant trade unions. It is better known as extortion by registered trade unions.

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