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Delhi air pollution: Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan file affidavits on payment in lieu of wages to construction workers

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The Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan governments have filed their affidavits in the Supreme Court on the measures they have taken to cut down on air pollution.

The UP government said the Uttar Pradesh Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board has put in motion its “Disaster Relief Assistance Scheme” for registered construction workers. They are to be provided assistance for the maintenance of their families in case of disaster. 

Under the said scheme, in view of the Covid-19 Epidemic, pursuant to the order of the administration, the process of providing one time amount of Rs 1,000 in lumpsum in Aadhaar-based payment mode will be given to those workers who are registered with the board and had their Aadhaar verified. 

It is further submitted that complying with the order dated 24.11.2021 passed by the  Supreme Court, the administration while following the direction given by this Court, out of determined building and other construction work related activities notified 40 processes, barring non polluting activities, remaining activities where registered workers are employed, who are properly updated and have Aadhaar authentication will be given immediate relief under Disaster Relief Assistance Scheme. A weekly amount of Rs 1,000 is to be provided in one lumpsum through Aadhaar based payment in the head of assistance, this arrangement will be implemented only once for compliance of the order dated 24.11.2021 passed by the Supreme Court. Along with this, it is also to be informed that this restriction has been imposed in NCR area with effect from 10.12.22021. 

According to the order passed by the Supreme Court, in order to provide an amount of Rs 1,000 weekly for immediate assistance, the registered and updated workers employed in the following processes are to be included: 

“1. Digging the well 2. Roller work, 3. Roofing work, 4. Masons, 5. Road construction, 6. Mixer work 7. Hammer work, 8. Tunnel construction, 9. Tile work, 10. Wells siltation ( sedimentation / diving), 11. Rock breaking or mining, 12. Spray work or mixing work (related to road construction), 13. Marble/Stones work,  14.Lime  making, 15. Clay Work, 16. (Carrying cement, concrete, brick etc.) 17. Installation of security gates and other equipment, 18. Mining work of clay, sand and mooring, 19. Brick manufacturing work on brick kilns, 20. Construction of community park or  footpath, 21. Major mechanical work, such as machinery, bridge construction  work etc., 22. Flood management and other similar works All works relating to, 23. Construction of dam, bridge road or any operation under construction, 24. Swimming pool, golf course etc. including other works. Construction work of entertainment facilities 25. A11 kinds of stone cutting, breaking and grinding.”

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The state Government has stated that no objection is given to the proposal of Secretary Board in the matter in question on the condition that under the said scheme the eligible construction workers will be given an immediate assistance from the Cess fund of an amount of Rs 1,000 weekly through an Aadhaar based payment mode. “In this concern the building and other Construction Workers (Regulation & Service Conditions) Act 1996 and relevant Rules 2009 to be fully complied with in the interest of the eligible construction workers,” the affidavit reads.

On the other hand, the Rajasthan Government informed the Apex Court that the Building and other Construction Workers Welfare Board, State of Rajasthan has granted financial and administrative sanction to Joint Labour Commissioner, Alwar and Joint Labour Commissioner, Bharatpur for an amount to Rs 50 lakh each for payment of minimum wages to construction workers who are rendered idle due to prohibition on construction activity pursuant to the order of the Supreme Court in NCR region of Rajasthan. As per the Minimum Wages Act , 1948 and the notification dated 30.07.2021, unskilled workers are to be paid Rs 252 a day or Rs  6552 per month, semi-skilled workers are to be paid Rs  264 per day or Rs 6864 per month and skilled workers to be paid Rs 276 per day or Rs 7176 per month.  

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It is further submitted that some part of Alwar and Bharatpur District in State of Rajasthan fall within the NCR region. In Alwar, four construction entities have given details of 198 workers who are rendered idle pursuant to the curb on construction activity in the region, the details of the same are verified by the district collector and once verification process is done these workers are to be paid minimum  wages as per the directions of this Court. As per the details submitted by 13 entities, in Bharatpur District, engaged in construction activity, a list of 69 workers who are rendered idle due to prohibition of construction activity .  

“The details are being verified by the office of the District Collector and upon completion of verification the workers are to be paid. Further, identification and verification of construction workers who are rendered idle are ongoing and once they are identified the payments are to be made to them,”

-the affidavit of the Rajasthan Government reads.

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