Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD: The Government has finally decided to collect cess from contractors at one per cent on the value of the constructions such as buildings, dams and other structures executed by them, to provide proper healthcare to construction workers and education to their children.

As construction workers normally face problems relating to health, the Government is contemplating the launch of an exclusive health insurance scheme for them on the lines of Arogyasri to ensure treatment at super specialities hospitals.

The cess will be levied on all types of constructions valued at above Rs. 10 lakh -- be it a private apartment, individual house, commercial complex, projects of the Central/State Governments, Railways and Defence. But the collection will be made by implementing agencies which deduct it at source while paying bills.

According to initial estimates, the cess may ensure a sum of Rs. 500 crore, with the value of the constructions in the State specified, whether private or government, being over Rs. 50,000 crore annually.

As there is a boom in the construction activity in the State, the total number of workers is estimated to be over 55 lakh. Labour Minister G. Vinod who announced the decision to go in for cess for this category of wage-earners in the unorganised sector, told reporters that the workers desirous of claiming the benefit, however, would have to register his/her name with the Andhra Pradesh State Building & Other Construction Workers Welfare Board by paying Rs. 50 as registration fee and Rs. 12 as annual contribution. He said the scheme might be grounded in January.