The Gautam Budh Nagar labour department said that most of the big realtors evade labour cess in Noida, Greater Noida and Yamuna expressway area. The department is yet to recover around ₹50 crore labour cess from many realtors who are part of big-ticket realty projects in the district.
The Uttar Pradesh labour department had started levying labour cess since 2009 following a central government directive. The cess enables the government to fund and implement schemes targeted at ensuring labour welfare.
A realtor or individual spending more than ₹10 lakh on construction of a building mandatorily needs to pay 1 per cent of the total construction cost to labour department as labour cess. The government spends the funds collected on the development and welfare schemes for labourers.
“We will send defaulting realtors notices to recover dues, so that we can collect the money to be spent on welfare of the families of construction workers. Following our communication, the Noida, Greater Noida and Yamuna E-way authorities has started issuing building occupancy certificates to realtors. Only the ones who clear the labour cess dues are eligible for the certificates,” BK Rai, deputy labour commissioner, Gautam Budh Nagar, said.
A slowdown in realty sector due to dip in flat sales has resulted in realtors turning defaulters, the officials said.
Between February 2009 and February 2017, the labour department collected ₹733 crore as labour cess.
“Due to a housing boom in Noida, Greater Noida and Yamuna Expressway, Gautam Budh Nagar collects the highest labour cess in the state. No other district collects as much. However, only 10 per cent of ₹733 crore (the net labour cess collected by Gautam Budh Nagar) is spent on construction labourers in our district,” Rai said.
There are 1,35,355 registered construction labourers working at 2,638 construction sites. Officials said around 2-3 lakh labourers are unregistered and hence fall outside the ambit of welfare schemes.
“Construction labourers from Bihar, West Bengal and Jharkhand, among others states, work in Noida and Greater Noida. They work here and go back without getting themselves registered. As a result, most of them fail to get any benefit of the government’s welfare schemes,” Rai said.