Extremely unfortunate that 5,000 construction workers in Mumbai not registered

Extremely unfortunate that 5,000 construction workers in Mumbai not registered

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court of India Monday said it was “extremely unfortunate” that around 5,000 construction workers in Mumbai were not registered under an Act meant for their welfare and directed the Maharashtra government to take action against builders and contractors in this regard.nnA bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur asked the state government to identify the contractors and builders who have employed these 5,000 construction workers without they being registered and directed the slum rehabilitation authority to ensure compliance of the provisions of the Act.nnThe apex court observed that due to non-registration, these construction workers would not get benefit of the provisions of the Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996.nnThe bench, which also comprised justices S Abdul Nazeer and Deepak Gupta, perused a note placed before it by the state government as per which at least 53,270 construction workers were working at sites in Mumbai.nnThe state, while making it clear that 48,488 such construction workers were registered under the 1996 Act, told the bench that this figure did not include workers in the schemes approved by the slum rehabilitation authority.nn”The admitted position, therefore, is that there are about 5,000 construction workers who are working, but they have not been registered by the employer/contractor,” the bench said.nn”This is an extremely unfortunate situation because due to the non-registration of these construction workers, they will not get the benefit of the provisions of the Act and on the contrary, cess will (hopefully) be collected from the contractors/builders but utilized for a purpose other than the benefit of the construction workers,” it said.nnThe bench further said, “Under these circumstances, we direct the state of Maharashtra to identify the contractors/builders who have employed these roughly 5,000 construction workers without they being registered and take punitive action against the builders/contractors”.nnThe counsel appearing for the state told the bench that generally, the construction workers were either illiterate, semi-educated or migrant workers.nn”Obviously, under these circumstances, it is unlikely that they will know their rights under the Act. Therefore, the responsibility of the registration must squarely lie with the employer/contractor/builder/State of Maharashtra,” the bench noted in its order.nnThe bench asked the state to file a status report in the matter and posted it for further hearing on October 10.nnThe issue of utilisation of cess collected under the 1996 Act in Maharashtra had cropped up when the bench was hearing a matter related to framing of solid waste management policy by the states.nnThe apex court had on August 31 castigated some states and union territories for their “pathetic” attitude in not framing a solid waste management policy as per the 2016 Rules on the issue and had stayed construction activities till they brought it out.nnIt had later vacated its order staying construction activities in these states and union territory.nnThe issue of waste management had cropped up when the top court was dealing with a tragic incident of 2015 in which it had taken cognisance of the death of a seven-year-old boy due to dengue in Delhi.nnThe victim was allegedly denied treatment by five private hospitals here and his distraught parents had subsequently committed suicide.

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