The West Bengal government has played a remarkable role in looking after the interest of the construction workers by implementing the building and other construction workers’ welfare cess Act 1996.
West Bengal is one the seven states to implement the Act. Accordingly, construction workers’ welfare board has been set up by the labour department with the minister-in-charge as chairman of the board.
A notification has been issued to all civic bodies to collect a percentage of the construction cost of the premises coming up under their jurisdiction and deposit the money with the labour department.
There are around 20 lakh registered construction workers in West Bengal.
The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) had deposited Rs 8 crore in 2013-14 and Rs 17 crore in 2014-15.
The KMC charges 1 per cent of the construction cost and deposit the money with the state Labour Department.
However, the Act does not apply to set up buildings where the construction cost is less than Rs 10 lakh.
The construction cost is calculated on the type of flooring that has been used in the building. In case of normal flooring, the KMC charges Rs 5,460 per square meter as construction cost. Similarly, in case of mosaic and marble floorings the rates are Rs 6,300 per sqm and Rs 7300 per sqm.
A senior official of the state Labour Department said that a construction worker aged between 18 and 60 years can register with the board provided the person had worked for not less than 90 days in the preceding 12 months.
In case of accidents that result in hospitalisation of at least five days, a construction worker will get Rs 5,000.
In case the person develops any disability, a sum of Rs 25,000 will be given. In case of death, the nominee will get Rs 1 lakh. After 60 years, a worker is entitled to get anything between Rs 500 and Rs 770 per month as pension.
A beneficiary registered for a continuous period of 6 moths is entitled to get anything between Rs 2,000 to Rs 15,000 for the education of the children.
The official said that all the civic bodies deposit the stipulated percentage of the construction cost with the labour department and the money was spent for the welfare of the construction workers.
He said earlier that the builders often deprived the construction workers and they had to run from one place to the other to get money in case they met with accidents. But now as the thing was being controlled by the labour department the welfare of the construction workers was assured.