The State Government has constituted Himachal Pradesh Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board with a view to protect the interests of the workers in different public and private organizations. This was revealed by Prof. Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister, in a meeting with top four Trade Unions viz. Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) and Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), here last evening. Shri Surender Thakur, Chairman, BMS, Shri Hardeep Singh Baba, Chairman, INTUC, Shri Jagdish Bhardwaj, Chairman, AITUC, Shri Jagat Ram, Chairman, CITU, Shri Ashnarayan Singh, Secretary, BMS, Shri B.S.Chauhan, General Secretary, INTUC, Shri Roshan Lal Dogra, General Secretary, AITUC and Dr. Kashmir Singh Thakur, General Secretary, CITU attended the meeting.
Chief Minister said that the Board had been making various recommendations to the Government from time to time in view of protecting the interests of the workers both at work place and society. He said that the State Government had always been honouring the recommendations and implementing the same for the betterment of the working class. He said that fair representations had been given to the trade union leaders in the Board so that the welfare of the workers was ensured by rising above all other considerations. He said that the State Government had created a Fund out of the one percent cess of the total project cost upon the builders for utilization upon the welfare activities of the building and construction workers. He said that the benefits which were accruing to the members of the Fund included monthly pensionary benefits of Rs. 500 to the member completing five years of service; Rs. 10,000 as maternity benefit during the period of maternity to the female workers while the male member would be entitled for Rs. 1,000 as paternity benefit. He said that Disability pension of Rs. 500 per month with ex-gratia grant of Rs. 10,000 was also being provided out of the Fund in the case of the disability being 50 percent and above and Rs. 5,000 in other cases. He said that loan facility of upto Rs. 6,000 to the members to purchase tools etc. He said that the Board was competent to sanction funeral assistance of Rs. 5,000 to the nominees/dependents of a deceased.
Prof. Dhumal said that Financial Assistance for education of the children of the members had also been provided under the Fund provisions which ranged between Rs. 500 to Rs. 10,000 per annum and was available from Ist Standard to Ph.D level subject to the laid down conditions. He said that marriage grant of Rs. 11,000 was also available to the members for the marriage of his two
children while the unmarried female member was also eligible to avail the grant. He said that any worker would be eligible to avail the benefits out of the Fund subject to the condition that he was registered member of the Fund and was regularly contributing Rs. 10 instead of Rs. 20 earlier, per month as member fee towards the Fund.
Chief Minister said that the Board had been authorized to construct Workers Transit Hostel for construction workers at the places where more than 300 construction workers were registered as beneficiaries on such terms and conditions laid down by the Board. He said that for convenient conveyance a grant of Rs. 2,000 was being made available to the lady worker to purchase bicycle. He said that all financial benefits under the rules other than death benefits and medical assistance in cases of accidents shall become payable only after six months of a person becoming member of the Fund. He said that the Board was also competent to provide insurance cover to the workers on payment of insurance premium partly or fully on behalf of the beneficiaries from the Fund by adopting any Health Insurance Scheme. He said that many more benefits were also available to the construction workers as per the recommendations of the Board members. He said that the State Government was implementing the minimum wage conditions in favour of the workers besides creating quality infrastructure of basic amenities of education, health, electricity, road and drinking water etc. He said that it was during present term of the Government that the daily wages of workers were increased by Rs. 45 which was record hike benefitting lakhs of workers in the State. He said that workers in tribal areas were eligible to 25 percent additional wages.
Prof. Dhumal said that the welfare of the construction workers was on the priority agenda of the State Government and the State had maintained very cordial relations with all the trade unions which were representing different sections of the workers. He assured the Trade Unionists that the State Government would considering all their genuine demands in favour of the workers sympathetically. He thanked the leaders for their pro-state attitude resulting into complete peace in the State.
Leaders of different Trade Unions thanked the Chief Minister for his labour welfare attitude and urged him to provide them fair representations in the labour welfare organizations. They also apprised the Chief Minister of their various other demands which Chief Minister assured for resolving on priority.