Three years after its launch, the state Labour department has scrapped a scheme under which Rs 5,000 was given to a construction worker to buy tool kit, citing a large number of bogus registrations to avail the amount.
Labour department officials said that the scheme was launched in 2017 to attract construction workers to register with the Maharashtra Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board (MBOCWW). The amount of Rs 5,000 was directly credited into a construction worker’s account after registration.
“There were a large number of people who were not construction workers, but registered themselves as construction workers to get the amount. So, the scheme was being misused by people to a large extent. Also, it was not serving the purpose of purchasing tools by construction workers,” said an official.
S Srirangam, chief executive officer of MBOCWW, confirmed that the decision has been taken following a large number of complaints about the scheme.
However, the Maharashtra Construction Workers Federation said that action should have been taken against the bogus workers and officials involved in it rather than scrapping the scheme.
“Labour department officials approve the applications of construction workers. If a large number of bogus registrations has taken place, it means the labour department officials are also involved in it. Rather than taking action against them, the scheme has been scrapped, depriving lakhs of construction workers from the benefits of the scheme,” alleged Shankar Pujari, president of the federation.
Pujari further said that there are more than 40 lakh construction workers in the state but only 12 lakh active registered workers with the Board.
“If there were issues with the scheme, it should have been amended to ensure that the construction workers get its benefits. The discontinuation of the scheme is an injustice to construction workers from unorganised sectors. The government must reconsider the decision,” he added.
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