Labour Minister urges CMs to pay workers directly

Hard life:Construction workers rely on daily wages.Rajeev Bhatt

Hard life:Construction workers rely on daily wages.Rajeev Bhatt  

‘Release funds into their accounts to mitigate a crisis’

Union Labour and Employment Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar on Tuesday wrote to all Chief Ministers and Lieutenant-Governors asking them to directly release funds into the accounts of construction workers using the cess collected by their respective Building and Other Construction Workers’ Welfare Boards.

The Minister wrote that the government was taking various measures to provide relief to workers in view of the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For construction workers, who tend to rely on daily wages, the government issued the advisory to all States and Union Territories to use the cess fund, a statement from the Ministry said. The Ministry said about 3.5 crore construction workers were registered with the State boards and about Rs.52,000 crore was available to the boards in the form of cess collected over the years.

In his letter, Mr. Gangwar said each State or Union Territory could decide the amount f payment to be made to the workers. “The financial assistance at this point of time would help to mitigate the financial crisis of our construction workers to some extent and boost their morale to deal with this epidemic,” the Minister wrote. Starting Sunday, large parts of the country have been under lock-down to slow down the spread of the coronavirus till March 31, leading to construction activity being hit as well.

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