The following memorandum was presented to the Lt.-Governor of Delhi by a large demonstration of construction workers on 16th April.
The conditions of construction workers are deplorable in Delhi. In recent years and particularly after economic liberalization Delhi has witnessed a steep growth in construction and building activities. Both the Delhi state government and the private sector have been involved in multi-million projects ranging from the construction of residential apartments to that of the gigantic Delhi Metro project, which is being handled by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Limited (DMRC) – a joint venture of the Government of Delhi and the Government of India. Most of the construction workers are migrant labourers and landless labourers from U.P., Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and other economically weaker regions of India. To protect and further the interest of the workers involved in the construction activity the Government has constituted the Delhi Building and Other Construction Workers’ Welfare Board (DBOCWWB) under the Department of Labour on 22 September 2002. There are certain benefits avail to the workers under this Board like financial assistance for children, education, marriage and so on. There are more than 1200 crore rupees with the DBOCWWB. This money which is meant for the aforesaid benefits of the workers has not been spent for it. The benefits to these workers have been denied again and again. Below are some of the issues we need you to address:
1. Registration of workers meant to be done in one month but it usually takes 4 to 5 months to register them thus delaying the avail of benefits for them. There should be a time frame (10 days) within which the registration should be done. Strict action should be taken against the officers and staffs who do not deliver the services in the said timeframe.
2. Children are also facing difficulties in getting MCD and NDMC school scholarships. A joint meeting should be scheduled with the Delhi Board, Union representatives, MCD and Delhi Government to discuss the issues in detail and to take necessary action.
3. The DBOCWWB should hold awareness programmes among workers related to minimum wage and occupational safety and health.
4. The Welfare Board should have proper representation of workers so that it will represent the workers issues and won’t be partial to one side.
5. Rashtriya Swasth Bima Yojna (RSBY) cards should be issued to the workers immediately and they should be included under Employment and Security Insurance (ESI).
6. Equipment like cycles and sewing machines have not been provided.
7. Various Deputy Labour Commissioner Offices follow different procedures/methods for registration of members and Welfare Scheme. There should be a standard procedure followed by every labour department.
8. A Committee should be constituted to monitor the implementation of welfare scheme and registration of workers in DBOCWWB and Union representative should also be its member.
9. The cases going in Labour Department should be disposed of within a time frame.
10. The cess should be collected from the private builders around 1 per cent.
11. We have written many letters to Secretary DBOCWWB, but there is neither any response to the letter nor any action has been taken in this regard. We like to request you to constitute a Monitoring Committee, headed by Chief Secretary Delhi, including representation of workers to monitor the DBOCWWB. The same Committee should also monitor the Delhi Building and other Construction Workers Welfare Rule, 2002 and its implementation.
12. The employees of DBOCWWB, officers and staffs, who are responsible for the registration and welfare schemes should have fixed tenure and should have a policy with regard to their transfers.
13. The minutes of the meeting, circulars, decision taken, rules made and accounts should be updated at DBOCWWB sites on daily basis.
14. There should be a visiting room for the unions and the workers in the DBOCWWB office.
15. The vacant post of various positions should be immediately filled.
16. A meeting should held every month involving DLCs of all Districts and concerned departments like education, health, South Delhi Municipal Corporation, North Delhi Municipal Corporation, East Delhi Municipal Corporation and New Delhi Municipal Council, Labour Commissioner Office, Unions and workers’ representatives.
17. Even after 12 years of the establishment the Welfare Scheme forms are not available/ printed in Hindi and we have written many times regarding this. The Membership and Welfare Schemes Forms in Hindi and English should be available in all DLC and DBOCWWB office and its website.S A Azad