More than thousands construction workers from different parts of Delhi staged dharna at the Labor Secretary cum Commissioner office located at 5, Shamnath Marg, Civil Lines in protest of non implementation of BOCW act’1996. The construction workers were demanding immediate starting of registration, renewal and processing of claims of construction workers under Delhi Building & Other Construction Workers Welfare Board (DBOCWWB) by Labor department officers.
The dharna was organized by Delhi Nirman Mazdoor Sangathan, a registered construction workers union working for the education, awareness and organizing the construction workers of Delhi to achieve a dignified life.
Ramendra Kumar, General Secretary of the union said that despite of a central act & state rules, the construction workers of Delhi are deprived of their rights and social security benefits. The registration, renewal and processing of claim applications have been stopped since May’2018 without any valid reason by the Labor department officers.
He further said that a FIR has been registered by Anti Corruption Branch (ACB) of Delhi to investigate the issues of corruption involved in the registration and disbursal of benefits to the construction workers. The district labor offices claimed that they have to furnish a number of documents to ACB that is why the department is not in a position to carry out the work of DBOCWWB. But even after four months, the DBOCWWB work has not been started by the officials.
Anita, office bearer of the union said that our union has been demanding the fair implementation of the BOCW act’1996 since long and demanded investigation to curb the corrupt practices taking place at district labor offices. We support the investigation being carried out by ACB in the interest of the construction workers of Delhi because the corrupt practices have snatched the rights of genuine construction workers. We also believe that corruption can’t take place in isolation; there is definite involvement of district labor offices with the fake unions/agents in this whole corruption. One can easily identify these nexus as there is complete violation of first in- first out principle, there is no web camera at windows of the district labor offices for registration & renewal, there is no following of SOPs etc. These corruptions are continuing because of support from the senior labor department officials and that is also known to all.
Sangita, Joint Secretary of the union said that the Labor minister cum Chairman of the Board convened an extended meeting of DBOCWW Board along with all senior officials of the labor department on 2nd of August’2018; discussed the issues in details and directed the officials to start the Board work from the immediate effect. The district labor offices didn’t start the Board work even after direction from the Labor minister cum Chairman of the Board.
Bindu, a union activist said that on 23rd August’2018, an order was issued from The Additional Labor Commissioner to start the registration, renewal and claim processing work under DBOCWWB to all district heads of the labor department. We followed with all districts with respect to the implementation of this order and we came to know that no district is carrying out the DBOCWWB work even after issuing of this order.
Anil, vice president of union said that the construction workers of Delhi are in frustration and finding no solution of this problem. The identity cards of construction workers whose annual contributions were due since April’2018 have lapsed. They have lost their live membership with Board. They are not entitle for any benefits/claims after lapse of their identity cards cum pass books. The numbers of such construction workers are more than 70,000 from May to July only.
Jaya, a union activist said that the South West district has illegally detained thousands of identity cards cum pass books of the construction workers since Septmeber’2017 and not renewing their cards, no new registration and no claim application is being processed. The district head is violating the BOCW act’1996 by misinterpreting the act and rules. The Labor department has not taken any disciplinary action this errant officer.
Kailash, joint secretary of the union said that there are hundreds of construction workers waiting for the social security rights/benefits like maternity benefits, death & funeral compensations etc. The old age workers are not receiving any old age pension after April’2018; one can imagine how difficult will be the survival of such pensioners. There are thousands of children studying in government schools and students studying in colleges & universities are waiting for their educational support from the Board.
Manglesh, vice president of the union said that the labor department official’s undeclared strike has paralyzed the implementation of the BOCW act’1996 in Delhi and sufferers are no other than the builders of the city and the nation. We have written to LG & Labor Secretary both to intervene in this matter but we didn’t get any support from these offices. We will continue our fight till the demands are met.