Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 25 (PTI): As there are rising incidents of 'nooku kooli' (gawking charges) in Kerala despite the warning of the High Court against the practice, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday said it was an anti-social activity.

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Vijayan, who spoke to reporters here, said most of the recent incidents of demanding nookku kooli involved persons who do not belong to any organisation.

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"None of the trade unions in the State support nooku kooli. Police are taking stern action against those demanding nooku kooli...," he said.

Nooku kooli literally means 'gawking wages.' It is an euphemism for extortion by organised labour unions under which wages have to be paid to union workers for loading and unloading cargo, that work done by machines or by other workers.

The Kerala High Court recently lashed out against the State government over the practice and and that investors were afraid to come to the State due to that. The court said if the government wants more businesses, then it should stop the trade unions from the practice.

A section of people, earlier this month, blocked a lorry carrying cargo to the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) facility at Thumba in Thiruvananthapuram demanding money as nooku kooli.

On May 1, 2018, the government banned the obsolete nooku kooli used by headload workers to extract exorbitant wages without doing any work.

The practice is considered a product of militant trade unionism that resulted in frequent altercations between workers and businessmen.

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