The Delhi High Court has observed serious irregularities in disbursement of wages and benefits to migrant labourers engaged in the construction of Commonwealth Games-related projects. The HC has found that even four months after the Games, only Rs 28 crore has been spent for labour welfare, while the government had Rs 600 crore in its coffers received as cess from contractors.
The court also pointed out that 90% of the labourers were migrants and may have gone back to their native states. A Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Sanjiv Khanna said: “There is something seriously wrong with the way the funds for labourers have been dealt with. The Games got over four months back and only a minimal Rs 28 crore out of Rs 600 crore has been spent. It is not even 5% of the amount.” The Bench made the remarks when the bosses of various agencies involved in construction — MCD commissioner, regional labour commissioner, Government of India, NDMC secretary, DDA secretary and GM (HR) of Delhi International Airport Limited — were present in the court.
They had been summoned by the court on January 19 over failure to extend any benefits to labourers.
The court was hearing a PIL on the plight of thousands of labourers who toiled day and night in rough weather to make Delhi a world-class city but were denied basic facilities like wages, registration, health, medical and maternity benefits and their children free education.
Government counsel Najmi Waziri told the court that so far letters indicating benefits available and office to be contacted had been sent to 43,700 workers who had been registered.
The court directed various unions of the workers to bring the registered workers, who have migrated to various places to avail the benefits here.