Authorities in Jammu and Kashmir’s Ramban district have started a process to identify all construction workers not yet brought under provident fund and insurance cover in accordance with labour laws.
The move comes as a major relief for labourers engaged in national projects in the district.
Ramban Deputy Commissioner Mussarat Islam issued the order after taking serious note of protests by the labourers for implementation of labour laws and disbursement of full wages.
In a communication to the assistant commissioner (provident fund), Islam said it was brought to his notice that several labourers/construction workers engaged in various concessionnaire companies executing national projects such as the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link, Sawalkote Hydro Electric Project and four-laning of the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway have not been brought under the ambit of provident fund and insurance cover, as enshrined in the labour laws.
“It has also been learnt that while concessionaire companies pay full dues to the labourers/construction workers, the same benefits are reportedly not extended by the PRW contractors (sub-contractors) of the concessionaire companies to the labourers/construction workers, as per their skill category, which is a matter of serious concern,” he said.
The deputy commissioner said there have also been reports that the PRW contractors have maintained no record and these labourers and construction workers are generally referred to as “contractor khata”.
“In order to identify the scale at which the labourers/construction workers are duped of their duly earned wages, you are directed to submit a comprehensive list with findings from all the concessionnaire companies engaged in execution of national projects and reconcile the same with the PRW contractors’ lists so that it is ensured that PF, insurance cover and other benefits which accrue to the labour community are not siphoned away,” the communication stated.
There are several instances when a labourer or construction worker from a PRW contractor is injured or dies in an accident at any site, he or his kin is denied rightful compensation or any financial assistance since his PF and insurance cover have not been maintained, Islam said.
He directed the officer to ensure collection of the PF number of the PRWs and list of labourers/construction workers to help scrutinise those who may be deprived of their full wages while obtaining the lists from the concessionaire companies.