Ahmedabad metro: No salary slip to 82% workers, 65% paid less than Rs 350 a day, no social security to 98%

By Rajiv Shah
A new study carried out by the Bandhkam Mazdoor Sangathan (BMS), Gujarat’s biggest non-government organization (NGO) working for the welfare of construction workers in the state, has found that none of the workers working for the high profile Ahmedabad metro project, currently being implemented across the city, has been registered with the Gujarat Building and Other Construction Workers’ Board.
The board is supposed to look after various social welfare schemes for the benefit of construction workers, ranging from providing assistance for children’s education, maternity assistance and medical health aid, to death compensation if a worker suffer from fatal accident at a construction site. However, they avail of the facilities only in case they are registered with the board. 
Awareness of social security
While the registration on paper is mandatory, ironically, so far only 30% of about 12 lakh construction workers in Gujarat have been registered with the board. The result is that, while the Gujarat government has collected a whopping Rs 1,900 crore from the chess from the construction sector at the rate of Rs 30 per sq metro, just about Rs 150 crore has so far been spent for workers’ welfare.
The study, which is based data collected by students of the master of labour welfare department, Gujarat University, as part of their internship programme, found that only 15% of metro workers have been registered under the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC), a Government of India organization which proves free medical care to workers, and only 2% are registered under the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF). As for other social security benefit, again, just 2% of the metro workers were found to be aware of them.
Daily salary in rupees
The study found that only 8% of construction workers are from Gujarat, while the rest are migrants – mainly from Bihar, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Odisha. About 65% of workers are paid daily wage of between Rs 250 and 350, and another 32% are paid between Rs 350 and 450. Only 3% of the metro workers are paid the wage between Rs 500 and 600.
The study further found that 82% workers are not paid any slip for the wages they are given — possibly one of the reasons why they cannot get themselves registered with the state welfare board, which requires proof of employment and aadhaar ID as prerequisite for the welfare board registration.
The study further found that 21% of workers are not provided any paid holiday, while 6% workers are allowed holiday only once a month, 81% said there was no canteen where they could go and have snacks of lunch, 13% said there are no toilet facilities, and 53% said there was no “restrooms.”
About 41% of the metro workers said they did not have any formal education, while another 40% said they had completed secondary education. While only 6% of of those working at the Metro sites are aged 40 or more, the study found, 57% were married. Further, it found that 51% of workers were not paid any advance, 50% said that their wages were deposited once a month in their bank account, 32% said they received payments through contractors.
The study said, these condition of the high-profile Ahmedabad metro project is there despite the fact that constructions workers fall under Central and state laws, including the Building and other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996; Payment of Wages Act, 1936; Employees’ Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952; Workman Compensation Act, 1923; Interstate Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979; and Contract Labour Regulation and Abolition Act, 1970.
Status of domicile
A presentation on the study, forwarded by BMS’ Vipul Pandya to Counterview said, “The aim of this study was to understand the extent of application of law drafted with bona-fide intention of the government. For the purpose of this study a sample of 100 workers was chosen, and survey forms filled, which were spread across four sites, with 25 workers each, the sites being Drive-in Road section (Tata Orojects Ltd); Shahpur Char Rasta Section (L&T Ltd), and Usmanpura Section (Simplex Infrastructure Ltd), Visat Section (Ranjit Buildcon Pvt Ltd).”

Comments

RK said…
The great Gujarat model
Mallika Sarabhai said…
Awful. What can be done?
Anonymous said…
Well, this is not new. In all sectors if economy,situation is similar. We carried out study if textile workers of Surat and ther too, workers are n8t given pay slip, 12 hour shift, no minimum wages ti many and and so on. To clarify, ESI services are not free. Workers and employers are required to pay their contribution