The Delhi High Court on Wednesday directed the AAP-led state government to renew the registrations of over five lakh construction workers who fulfil the eligibility criteria so that they can be provided relief under its scheme for labourers during the COVID-19 lockdown.
A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rajnish Bhatnagar asked the Delhi government to revive the registrations of the workers who fulfil the eligibility criteria of having worked in the national capital for 90 days in the past one year as required under the Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare (BOCCW) Act.
The direction came on public interest litigation (PIL) by social activist Sunil Kumar Aledia seeking registration of all construction workers in Delhi under the BOCWW Act so that they can get the benefit of the relief package of Rs 5,000 per month being provided to each labourer during the lockdown.
The petitioner highlighted the lack of responsibility taken by employers, governments and concerned departments alike, due to which the workers were not just left to fend for themselves but are also deprived of the mandated benefits of crores of funds collected in their name. The petitioner said that "the fate of non-registration for welfare schemes has been faced by labourers and workers for far too long, and is particularly inflated by the Covid-19 lockdown."
"It is a stark reality of Delhi that despite infrastructure projects being taken up by huge companies (including those arising out of lucrative government contracts for government buildings), these poor, uneducated and unaware workers have been left to fend for themselves. Neither the Delhi Government nor the companies/contractors have come forward to facilitate and/or ensure their registration as beneficiaries under said welfare and beneficial Act," the petition stated.
"Most construction workers of Delhi are not registered as construction workers, thus depriving them not only of monitoring on whether wages are being paid to them as per the guidelines under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, by their principal employers but also all benefits of the welfare schemes under the BOCW Act including the direct bank transfer relief provided by the government for construction workers," the petition said.
The Petition contended that only a small section out of the over 10 lakh workers in the city are registered under the laws regulating their welfare and service conditions and thus, a huge chunk of the labourers are not getting benefits actually meant for them.
(With ANI inputs)