On a call given by the All-India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), a huge number of construction labourers and members of their family today held a rally in front of Deputy Commissioner Kamaldeep Singh Sangha’s office and later handed over a memorandum to him.
Speaking on the occasion, the communist leaders criticised the central and state governments for ignoring the welfare of construction workers who were living in pitiable conditions. They feared that the implementation of Goods and Service Tax (GST) would eat into the funds of the welfare board of registered construction workers.
Vidya Sagar Giri, national secretary, AITUC, condemned the central government while alleging that the funds meant for the construction workers’ welfare board were diverted for other purposes. He alleged that the major part of the portion of the welfare board was used in arranging farewell functions for the officers. He said the Supreme Court had taken a serious note of this and the matter was in the court and the next date of hearing was slated for September.
He demanded that the central government should provide the funds for running the welfare board. He also sought that the construction workers should be directly attached with ESI hospitals, so that they could get quality health facilities.
CPI state secretary Hardev Arshi while speaking on the occasion sought housing board colonies for the construction workers in the metro and the non-metro cities. He strongly condemned the “ignorant attitude” of the Punjab Government towards the construction workers and other working classes.
“With the Congress coming to power, people had hoped that it would wipe out the sand mafia. But see what is happening? Now their own leaders were indulging in the same illegal practice and due to this, the construction workers are out of job for the past six months,” Arshi said. He demanded Rs 3,000 per month as pension for the construction workers.
Bant Singh Brar, president, AITUC, Punjab, sought Rs 5 lakh as compensation for the death of any construction worker besides enhanced scholarships for their children. He also demanded a Shagun Scheme promising Rs 51,000 for the beneficiaries. Among their other demands included clearing pending payments of medical bills of construction workers.