Barely a couple of days after the Kerala High Court directed the State to get rid of the practice of 'nokku-kooli' which literally means 'gawking wages', a truck of ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) was blocked on Sunday by workers allegedly demanding the wages.
According to an employee of ISRO Rajeswari tasked with ensuring offload of the cargo before noon, the people demanded money for allowing the vehicle into the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) facility at Thumba in Thiruvananthapuram.
She told PTI that the cargo was so heavy that it can be offloaded with the use of only hydraulic systems. Despite this, she said, the people wanted money for letting the cargo in.
She said ever since the VSSC was set up after acquiring land of the local residents, there was the practice of paying them whenever goods arrive.
She hoped this practice would stop and said she would be lodging a police complaint.
She said a labour officer visited the scene and talked to the people. The issue was resolved after the intervention by government and senior police officials, she said.
Police said they received a complaint from ISRO at around 11 AM based on which they reached the spot and found the workers blocking the lorry.
Nokku-kooli is an euphemism for extortion by organised labour unions.
The court, hearing a plea filed by a businessman from Kollam over the issue, said the rights of the headload workers should be protected legally and petitions seeking action on those demanding nokku-kooli were on the rise.
"The practice of nokku-kooli is damaging the image of Kerala. It should be eradicated. It gives out wrong perceptions about the state. Meanwhile, the rights of the headload workers should also be protected," the court had said.
On May 1, 2018, the State government banned the practice.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)