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Construction Workers on Call

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We had organised a meeting at labour chowk in the C block Jahangirpuri with a group of around 50 construction workers. As per one study of Delhi School of Social Work Society, around 500 construction workers come daily at the C block labour chowk of Jahangirpuri.

We had started our interaction with workers almost 6 months earlier. Three spots in the Delhi were identified to start work with them which are labour chowk of Jahangirpuri, Azadpur labour chowk & Haiderpur labour chowk in which work started from Jahangir puri labour chowk and gathered data of around 400 construction workers to get an insight of the prevailing situation.

We found in our interaction with them that not a single workers are aware of the “The Building & Other Construction Workers Act, 1996” which is one of major Act which addresses their concerns of social security and other welfare measures. Central Government had enacted the Act in 1996; accordingly Government of Delhi formed the Act. As per Act, a construction workers welfare board will be formed in every state to make accessibility of social security measures to the construction workers. Board has given a big responsibility of millions of worker’s social security.

As per the provision, Delhi Government formed construction workers welfare board, which started functioning in the year 2002. According to sources, around 2000 crore rupees has been collected by welfare board through builders & others. The study also says that only 1% of workers in Delhi has been organised and enrolled so the large chunk of money is lying idle in the board.

Times to time CAG and HCs & SCs have pointed the poor performance of welfare board. The direction has been given to create awareness and enrolment of workers through adopting different means of mode available.

There are ample numbers of factors motivated us to accept the challenges and our journey begins by taking the learning from various sources. Apart from the agenda of social security, we had also discussion over our initiative for them “Construction Workers on Call”. In the very beginning of our interaction with them, they had one big concern about lack of work on regular basis. They need to come to labour chowk early morning regularly to seek jobs. There are phenomena that they only get 10-15 days of work in a month. So idea was to put detail of workers with their capacity of skill with their contact details on the specific website for this purpose, so that gradually days will come when they do not need to go to labour chowk and more number of days of work will be access to them. A detailed discussion over the modalities shared with them.

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