Won’t tolerate carelessness in ensuring welfare of our city workers: Manish Sisodia

Oct. 20, 2020, 8:21 p.m.

New Delho: Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has stepped up the campaign to register construction workers on a war footing. Shri Sisodia conducted a surprise inspection of the District Labour Office at Pushp Vihar this morning.

Expressing his displeasure over the various flaws found during the inspection, Shri Sisodia said that not complying with the instructions given in the past is a serious matter of concern. He said that the Delhi Government will not tolerate any carelessness or excuses when it comes to the welfare of the Delhi workers. Shri Sisodia asked the officials to make such a system of registration that ensures no poor labourer is forced to pay bribe to anyone, nor faces any difficulty in travelling to government offices everyday.

Shri Sisodia said that it is estimated that there will be one million construction laborers in Delhi. “It is our priority to register each and every single labourer and ensure they are provided with the benefits of these welfare schemes,” he added. For this, apart from the officers of the board, the help of the labour department and other departments will also be taken. 

During the surprise inspection, Shri Sisodia directed to issue a show cause notice against the Deputy Secretary absent in the office. The Deputy Chief Minister also directed the department’s officers to resolve all the pending issues in the next 24 hours.

It is noteworthy that Shri Sisodia had taken over the charge of the Labour and Employment Department last week and had directed to complete the registration and verification of construction workers immediately after meeting with the concerned officials. 

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Today, during the surprise inspection of the South District Construction Board Labuor Office at Pushp Vihar, Shri Sisodia tried to understand the reasons for the delay in the process and the difficulties faced by the workers who were standing in the queues. He was accompanied by other officials including Department Secretary Alice Vaz and Secretary of the Construction Board. 

Shri Sisodia reached Pushp Vihar Centre at 10.45 am today and spoke to the workers standing in queues to check out the process. 

The workers said that they reached the office at 4am in the morning and had been queuing since then. The queues included workers such as labourers who had come to file their application for registration, renewal and verification of their documents. Shri Sisodia also came to know that due to lack of proper knowledge of the process of registration of workers, they often fell prey to the brokers and middlemen.  

Brokers are active in various poor settlements who are collecting money in the name of registration and verification. Shri Sisodia gave strict instructions to the officers that the registration process should be explained in a simple and easy language on hoardings. He said, “Whichever broker is caught taking bribes, an FIR should be lodged immediately against him.” He also added that if any role of the middlemen is found, the responsibility of the officers will be fixed.

During the inspection, several flaws and blocks in the system were unearthed. Shri Sisodia immediately ordered the officials to correct them. He was also surprised to find that not even a single application was processed in the first hour of the office being open to the public. Shri Sisodia said that no negligence will be tolerated in providing benefits of welfare schemes to the city construction workers. In this matter, strict actions will be taken against whoever is found guilty. Additionally, he ordered the registration, verification and renewal process to be fast tracked with immediate effect.

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During his conversation with the people present in the queues, Shri Sisodia found out that the workers had to stand in the line for 6-7 hours and it affected their work as they had to come to the office regularly to finish their documentation. On receiving information that the Deputy Secretary was not present in the office for the past two days, Shri Sisodia instructed to issue a tell notice. He also directed to issue notices against other negligent employees at the office. 

At the inspection, Shri Sisodia found that in the absence of clear information about the process, the workers fell prey to economic exploitation by going through brokers. The Deputy CM has directed to install simple explainer hoardings in the office so that all and any information is easily available to the poor laborers so as to avoid them falling prey to middlemen. Shri Sisodia also directed to install CCTVs in and around the office so that the such middlemen could be identified. 

Shri Sisodia also expressed his displeasure over the fact that the middlemen collect money from the construction workers in the name of getting them registered with the Construction Board, which is a failure of the overcomplicated process. 

The Deputy CM ordered the officers to themselves be on the ground and verify the documents of the workers standing in the line. He further directed to shift the renewal process online so that the workers do not have to come to the Construction Labor Board Office. 

The Deputy CM assured the workers that they would streamline the entire process in a phased manner so that all the workers would register themselves in the next one week.  During this time, the Deputy Chief Minister also expressed his displeasure at the non-adherence of social distancing in the queues. The workers thanked the deputy CM for his surprise inspections and for listening to their problems.

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