Delhi owes Rs 390 crore welfare money to construction workers

The Delhi government has not released over Rs 390 crore meant for the welfare of construction workers involved in various projects across the city.

Since 2005, the Delhi Welfare Board (WB) has collected around Rs 400 crore from various building agencies in the form of cess.

Out of this, only Rs 1.78 crore has been disbursed for the welfare of construction workers and their families.

This includes Rs.78 lakh for scholarships given in mid 2010 and the crèches for the children of construction workers funded by the welfare board.

The Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996 makes it mandatory for private as well as government building agencies (such as CPWD, PWD, DDA etc) to submit one percent of the total construction cost to the WB as cess. The money goes into the cess fund from which the construction laborers can derive benefits including medical assistance, maternity benefit and accident relief and scholarship for children’s education. However, the benefits are meant only for registered workers.

Currently, around 30, 000 workers of an estimated ten lakh work force in the capital are registered with the Board- constituted under the social welfare ministry in 1996.

Delhi’s social welfare minister Mangal Ram Singal as the chairman of the Board.

“Non- registration of workers is the biggest problem here. The board does not have adequate staff to get them registered. Further, the Board does not conduct timely meetings to assess the issue,” said Subhash Bhatnagar, labour representative on the board for the last eight years.

Bhatnagar says that the welfare board held only one meeting in 2009 and four meetings in 2007- 08.

According to the rules, the board should meet once in two months.

This appeared on governancenow.com August 12, 2010

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