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Poor response to registration of workers

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Exploited lot: Construction labourers engaged in laying a road on May Day, a labour holiday throughout the world. –
Exploited lot: Construction labourers engaged in laying a road on May Day, a labour holiday throughout the world. –

Swathi.V

Of the 3 lakh registrations in the State, only 10,000 are from the city

HYDERABAD: Twin cities, though buzzing with real estate activity, do not seem to care much for the welfare of the workers engaged in that sector. Despite housing over four lakh construction labourers, the city remains indifferent to the notification by the A.P. Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board for registration of the workers.

Of the three lakh registrations all over the State, only 10,000 are from the capital. This is despite the estimates that Hyderabad has a fourth of the total construction labourers in the State.

“Lack of enthusiasm from the officials is marring the registration process here. The schemes should have been given wide publicity through media and door-to-door campaign. Even unions remained ineffective though existing one in every street,” says R. Kotamraju, the president of the Building and other Construction Workers’ Union.

He claims his union got about 1.2 lakh registrations so far. However, it remains handicapped in the city for lack of sufficient strength.

“Each worker’s registration takes about 15 minutes. The department does not have enough manpower. Working in tandem with unions becomes important and the officials have realised it only recently,” Mr.Kotamraju said.

Hurdles

Two more hitches in the process are the registration fee and the requirement of ration card and bank account. Majority of the labourers are from outside the city and do not have ration cards. Registration fee of Rs.50 coupled with renewal fee of Rs.12 makes the workers wince.

S. Gopal, chairman of the Board, while admitting that the pace of registrations is slow, attributed the same to Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy’s demise.

However, plans are afoot to speed them up. “As of now, it is up to the workers to approach us for registrations. Now the plan is to send teams to project sites, and also involve unions. Builders too promised to register their workers,” he said, and hoped to reach the 50,000 target by October 2 and two lakh by December.

Registration carries benefits such as maternity assistance, accident insurance, health insurance, and student scholarships apart from training in safety and health. Workers from 72 trades in construction and related activities are eligible for registration.

The process began on August 15 and identity cards will be issued from October 2.


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