As many as 195 construction workers have lost their lives in 185 construction-related incidents in the State in the last five years. This was disclosed by Minister for Labour P.T. Parameshwara Naik in his reply to an unstarred question by K. Govindaraj of the Congress in the Legislative Council.

He also said over 19.67 lakh labourers (88.146 labourers in Bangalore city) are engaged in construction in the State. While admitting that enrolment of construction workers in welfare schemes is small, the Minister said a massive campaign would be launched to enrol all construction workers in the State.

He said over 4.81 lakh workers were enrolled under the Swavalamban, Karnataka State Private Commercial Vehicle Drivers Accident Benefit, and Karnataka Building and Construction Workers Welfare Board schemes. “The target of the government is to enrol over 6 lakh workers,” he said. The government pays Rs. 2 lakh as compensation to the family of diseased construction workers. He directed the authorities concerned to pay compensation to those injured during duty hours.

As much as Rs. 2,170 crore available in the Karnataka Labour Welfare Board would be used for opening residential schools for children of construction workers, he said.

Vani Vilas Sugar factory

Minister for Sugar Prakash B. Hukkeri said a committee, headed by Deputy Commissioner of Chitradurga, has been constituted to sell Vani Vilas Cooperative Sugar, which had been closed down in 2004. The decision was taken as none had come forward to run the factory on contract basis. It has been decided to sell it on “as is where is basis”, he said, in reply to Raghu Achar (Congress).

Hemavathi Left Bank canal

It was proposed to take up modernisation of Hemavathi Left Bank canal to improve water discharge. As some of the farmers in the area are violating cropping pattern, water was not reaching the tail-end regions, Minister for Water Resources M.B. Patil said in reply to a question of M.D. Lakshminarayan. “The process of preparing Detailed Project Report is progressing and on completion tenders will be floated to complete the work on a priority,” he added.