They are accused of violating norms on wages, denying DMRC workers Provident Fund and insurance benefits
Despite complaints received against three contractors employed by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation to supply labour for ticket-vending operations, housekeeping and security guards, none of them has been blacklisted so far, the Union Ministry of Urban Development told the Lok Sabha recently.
Giving a detailed reply on the action initiated on complaints against the contractors, the Ministry said fines have been imposed on these contractors found to be in violation of norms for late disbursement of wages and for denying workers Provident Fund and insurance benefits. In some instances, the violations run into crores of rupees.
According to information furnished in the Lok Sabha last month, complaints have been received against M/s Bedi & Bedi Associates, M/s G4S Secure Solutions (India) Pvt. Ltd and M/s Prehari Protection Systems Pvt. Ltd, all of whom provide services such as ticket vending, customer facilitation or security services. For instance, the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) Authority has calculated dues from G4S Secure Solutions amounting to Rs. 85,02,38,258 and on which interest of Rs.48,73,75,918 is due.
While a penalty of Rs.22,800 “has been proposed” to be deducted from the bill of Prehari Protection Systems for February 2013 for late disbursement of wages, the complaint against Bedi & Bedi Associates for late disbursement of wages and EPF and Employee State Insurance (ESI) related complaints have led to the DMRC slapping a penalty of Rs.8,65,000 on the contractor. The paltry sum is despite a First Information Report lodged against the contractor by EPF authorities on February 19, stating that EPF contributions of Rs.3,35,315 have not been made for “58 DMRC complainants” for the period between March 2009 and January 2012.
Fake PF allotted
Rajni Saxena (40), who worked as a ticket vendor at the Akshardham Metro Station till January 2012, is among the 58 employees who had been allotted fake PF and health insurance accounts by her former employer Bedi & Bedi Associates. “The PF dues of Rs.3,35,315 are only for 58 employees and not for all the workers employed by the contractor. This is a conservative figure if you compare it to the amount of Rs.4,89,639 that Bedi & Bedi Associates owed for just one year to its workers contracted to the National Physical Laboratory,” she said.
Following an investigation by The Hindu in October last year that revealed the plight of Ms. Saxena and 58 of her colleagues, the DMRC sent her a letter in November 2012 stating that it had asked the contractor to clarify the issue. The information furnished by Bedi & Bedi Associates showed that Ms. Saxena was provided an ESI facility with IP No.1113503955 and details of contributions made to her. Yet, corresponding salary slips with Ms. Saxena showed a completely different ESI number. Ms. Saxena has since hired a lawyer to take the matter forward.
The information furnished in the Lok Sabha states that “EPF and ESI authorities are carrying checks and audits including those based on received complaints [against Bedi & Bedi Associates]” and “case is sub judice/ enquiry being conducted in the Department of Economic Offences Wing, Delhi, Central Government Industrial Tribunal and Police Department…”
Despite repeated reminders, the DMRC is yet to respond to the e-mail sent by this reporter on the status of Ms. Saxena’s complaint and their action taken against the contractor. “The information is not readily available,” said a DMRC spokesperson when contacted on Thursday.