Staff Reporter

Delay in ID cards attributed to centralised online registration

ID must for benefits under ‘Building and Other Construction Workers Act’

HYDERABAD: After the demise of Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, it is the ongoing struggle for separate Telangana that is hitting the registration of the construction workers very badly. Registration of labourers with the A.P. Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board has come to a virtual standstill due to the freeze in construction activity in the city and elsewhere.

“Registrations, after reaching seven lakh, have slowed down of late due to the stalled construction activity. Nobody is working on projects as of now due to the volatile situation in the State. Even the government works have stopped because contractors are not able to get their bills cleared. Officials too are not pushing for registrations, because, after all, it would be a burden on the worker to shell out Rs.50 for registration, when there is no work,” S. Gopal, the Chairman of the Board said.

Officials visiting the construction sites are not finding workers there due as the activity has stopped, he said.

Twin cities are already lagging behind in terms of registrations due to the unorganised nature and geographical diffusion of workers as well as bureaucratic delays.

Though the number of registrations leapt to seven lakh from the three lakh in September, the number in twin cities does not exceed 16,000. This is far below the target of two lakh to have been reached by December. Ranga Reddy district, the hub of real estate activity, registered only 21,000.

While the West Godavari district tops the list with 98,000 registrations, its sibling on the East stands second in place with over 85,000 registrations.

Another cause for concern is the delay in issue of identity cards even after registration. Issue of identity cards was to begin on October 2, but the figures as of now are appalling to say the least.

Only 60 cards have been issued in East Godavari, 211 in Vizianagaram, and 136 in Srikakulam.

Even where the identity cards are generated, many remain undistributed. Workers in the twin cities are yet to get their cards.

“Many of us paid Rs.50 each to the union leaders six months ago for registration. None of us have got identity cards,” G. Shanthamma, a painter from Champapet says. Mr. Gopal blames the centralised online registration procedure for the delay in distribution of identity cards.

Technical problems

“We are not able to generate more than 200 to 300 cards per day due to technical problems in online registrations. Decentralised registrations with the district level officials as nodal officers would have accelerated the procedure,” he said.

Unless equipped with identity card, workers cannot avail themselves of the benefits listed under the ‘Building and Other Construction Workers Act’.