₹958 cr. cess pending from construction companies: CPI(M)

‘Labour Dept. not showing any interest in cess collection’

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) has alleged that thousands of crores of rupees has been evaded by way of non-payment of labour cess during the last five years, and demanded that the same be collected immediately and spent on welfare of construction labourers in the State.

Through a press meet, the party’s city secretary M. Srinivas has shared documents which reveal Vigilance Department alerts to the labour commissioners concerned about the pending labour cess from various construction companies.

As per the alerts, a total of ₹958 crore worth cess remains uncollected in Hyderabad, Rangareddy and Warangal Joint Labour Commissioners’ purviews alone, during the last five years.

A report by the Vigilance and Enforcement to the Labour department mentions ₹366 crore dues from Mission Kakatiya and Mission Bhageeratha contractors in Rangareddy zone alone, while the Metro Rail contractor owes ₹163 crore, and various mobile service providers -- up to ₹15 crore. Mr. Srinivas claimed tht several companies have not even come on the radar of the Vigilance & Enforcement, and clubbed with dues from them, the total amount payable would cross ₹2,000 crore.

As per the Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Cess Act, 1996, one per cent cess should be paid to the Labour Department for all construction work with over ₹10 lakh investment, he said.

The contributions will be used for creating corpus for Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Fund.

As per the stipulation, ₹800 crore cess is payable on the irrigation projects taken up by the State government alone, a statement by CPI(M) noted. Coupled with the amount accruing from construction of roads and other projects, the outstanding amount from the government could be huge, it said.

Despite Vigilance alerts, the Labour Department has not been showing any interest in collection of cess, the note alleged. Mr. Srinivas said even from the cess collected, expenditure on welfare measures for the construction labourers is woefully less.

For ₹2042 crore cess collected during the last five years, only ₹383 crore has been spent so far, as per information obtained under the Right to Information Act, he said, and alleged that it is a crime not to spend the amount to improve the living conditions of the workers.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 11:49:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/958-cr-cess-pending-from-construction-companies/article30280244.ece

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