April 24, 2018 4:27:00 am
The Maharashtra Construction Workers Federation (MCWF) has threatened to move court against the mid-day meal scheme for construction workers, even as the Labour Department awaits responses to tenders for the preparation, supply and distribution of the meals. MCLF has slammed the scheme, stating funds should instead be used on medical, education and housing schemes.
Tenders for the scheme have been invited for regions including Konkan, Nashik, Pune, Aurangabad, Nagpur and Amravati. The scheme is likey to have 1.5 lakh beneficiaries in these regions, an official from the Maharashtra Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board (MBOCWW) said.
“Section 22 of the Building and Other Construction Workers Act clearly states that funds can only be used for medical, education, insurance, housing schemes. Schemes like the mid-day meal one are brought in to give contracts to the party activists.
Contractors will be beneficiaries not workers. It is a scam and defeats the purpose of the welfare schemes. So, we will challenge it in the court,” alleged Shankar Pujari, president MCLF.
At present, there are more than 9 lakh registered workers in the state. Over 5 lakh workers have renewed their registration and are eligible for government schemes.
As per a survey of the National Sample Survey Office, there were total 27.53 lakh construction workers in 2015-2016 in the state. Officials admitted that some schemes, where funds can be used, have been clearly been specified in the Act, but the Board has also been given powers for making provision and improvement of such other welfare measures.
“Any registered workers will be eligible for free mid-day meal. We will give smart cards to keep track of the meals given to the workers in a year,” said S Srirangam, chief executive officer of the MBOCWW.
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