Alleging that the existing labour laws were becoming tools of harassment in the hands of various government agencies, the Builders’ Association of India (BAI) demanded that the Centre scrap existing labour laws and draft new policies with BAI’s consensus.

Speaking to the media here on Friday, BAI general secretary Anand Gupta said that the existing 44 labour laws were complicated and the builders and contractors were being victimised, severely impacting productivity.

Labour cess

Stating that labour cess was posing a problem to builders and contractors, Mr. Gupta said though the State government has been collecting 1 per cent cess from the construction firms since 1996, the fund has not been used properly.

Quoting statistics, he said the government has used only Rs. 700 crore so far on various betterment schemes, but over Rs.1,000 crore is still lying unused. Mr. Gupta demanded that these funds be used to hone labourers’ skills through training so as to not only improve productivity but also standards.

Escalation clause

BAI president B. Seenaiah stressed the need for an escalation clause in the laws to compensate builders during price hikes. BAI members are already suffering delayed payments from the Karnataka government. However, there is no such delay for projects implemented by the Centre. With payments pending for more than six months, builders and contractors are finding it tough.

He blamed price escalation and project delays coming in the way of land acquisition and quarrying. As there is no compensation from the government, builders are incurring huge losses. Mr. Seenaiah demanded the government include arbitration clause in the laws to help builders who are victims of the government’s whims.

Pending payment

Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike Contractors’ Association president R.J. Srinivas reiterated that the contractors are suffering huge losses due to non-payments of bills.

  • ‘Existing 44 labour laws are complicated, and builders and contractors are being victimised’

  • Pending payments from State government a major point of contention