Sangrur wall collapse case: Deceased labourers unregistered, kin not entitled to compensation - Hindustan Times
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Sangrur wall collapse case: Deceased labourers unregistered, kin not entitled to compensation

By, Patiala
Jun 10, 2024 06:48 AM IST

Another scheme involving payment of ₹2 lakh as compensation in case of construction worker’s death irrespective of registration was dropped in 2023.

A day after three construction workers died in a wall collapse incident in Sangrur, it has come to the fore that they were not registered with the labour department so their kin won’t be entitled to the accidental compensation of 4 lakh each.

The collapse of a rice mill wall in Kankuwal Bhaguna village of Sangrur district had left two others injured.
The collapse of a rice mill wall in Kankuwal Bhaguna village of Sangrur district had left two others injured.

The collapse of a rice mill wall in Kankuwal Bhaguna village of Sangrur district had left two others injured.

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This incident, according to activists, has once again exposed the ground-level functioning of labour officials as they have to ensure registration of construction workers before the work at any construction site starts. The number of the construction workers has to be more than 10 for registration.

It is pertinent to mention that the employer also has to be registered with the department under Section 12 of the Building and Other Constructions Workers (BOCW) Act and he/she has to register construction workers working at his/ her site under Section 7 of the BOCW Act.

When asked about alleged laxity on part of labour officials, Manvesh Singh Sidhu, principal secretary, department of labour, said,”If somebody starts construction of a private property, how come labour officials know about if? Our department is holding registration camps and creating awareness among the workers regarding registration.” Sidhu added that the department had already launched a mobile application where labourers and contractors could register themselves.

It has been learned that 12 posts of assistant labour commissioners are lying vacant in the state. This shortage is said to have been severely affecting the functioning of the department at the ground level.

Vijay Walia, an activist fighting for workers’ rights, said, “The labour department can’t shrug off its responsibility of ensuring registration of construction workers by claiming that they are not aware of it. As per the Union government’s action plan, the labour department has to tie up with every government agency which approves building plans. The department is not making as much efforts as it should to ensure registration of workers.”

Significantly, a scheme involving payment of 2 lakh as compensation in case of construction worker’s death irrespective of registration was dropped in 2023. The scheme was started by the then Congress government. When questioned, principal secretary (labour) Manvesh Singh Sidhu said, “The accountant general had objected to the provision, therefore, it (providing 2 lakh) was dropped.”

Notably, Sangrur deputy commissioner Jitendra Jorwal had on Saturday said that the administration was looking for a possible compensation as per the Punjab government’s policy. An FIR under Section 304-A (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) has already been registered against the contractor.

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