Just 11% Odisha construction workers benefit from govt welfare board schemes

A recent sample study involving Odisha’s construction workers has found that of the 140 persons working in three project settlements (80 from Kargil Basti, 45 from Kelasahi and 15 from Palaspalli), only 101 (Kargil Basti 71, Kelasahi 19 and Palaspalli 11) are registered under the Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Act and Cess (BOCWWC) Act, 1996.
Speaking at the hearing organized by the Centre for Advocacy and Research (CFAR) in Bhubaneswar, Rosalin Pattnaik, project coordinator, CFAR, said, out of 101 registered construction workers, only 64 (Kargil Basti 48, Kelasahi 5 and Palaspalli 11) constituting 63.36 per cent renewed their labour cards, and just 16, constituting 11.42 per cent, have benefitted, mostly under the Cycle and Safety Security schemes of the Act.
In all 15 testimonies were presented by aggrieved construction workers at the public hearing, in which Dhirendra Panda, Convener, Civil Society Forum on Human Rights (CSFHR); Suresh Panigrahi, State Council Member CPI(M); Subhash Singh, Chairperson, Odisha Building & Other Construction Workers Welfare Board(OBOCWWB), Sachikant Pradhan, Human Right activist, and Manjupriya Dhala, director, Centre for Advanced Research and Development (CARD) were members of the jury.
While Subhash Singhclaimed that the Government of Odisha was spending huge sums for the welfare and development of the construction workers, Suresh Panigrahi said, “On the one hand, the State government is increasing the monthly pension, financial aid for daughters’ marriage, financial assistance for death etc. of the construction workers, but on the other, construction workers are deprived from their due prescribed under the Act.”
In Odisha, rules under the Act were framed in 2002 and registration under the Act was formally started in 2009, causing a delay of almost 13 years. The Government of Odisha says it has registered about 25 Lakhs construction workers under the Act, but the sample study disproves this claim.
The Act provides a number of cash benefits and assistance to registered workers and their family members, such as disability benefit, death benefit, medical benefit, educational assistant for kids, maternity benefit to women workers, assistance for purchase of working tools, assistance for purchase of bicycle, assistance for the purchase of safety equipment, housing assistance, stipend for skill development training etc.

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