Construction workers in Punjab await Rs 3K grant - ECAS Punjab

Construction workers in Punjab await Rs 3K grant

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Karam Prakash

Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 9

Fifty-year-old Ashok Kumar, a registered construction worker, has been struggling to make ends meet since the lockdown. A one-time financial aid of Rs 3,000 was to come from the Punjab Government in March, but the wait seems to be unending.

The government, it is learnt, has already released an amount of Rs 86 crore — to be transferred directly to the bank accounts of 2.86 lakh beneficiaries — but there are many like Ashok who are yet to receive it.

They have been making repeated rounds of labour offices and banks, only to return empty-handed. Some workers and activists have been alleging a scam saying genuine beneficiaries had been left out due to fake registration of workers.

Vijay Walia, an activist fighting for construction workers in Punjab, said, "If the government has already transferred the grant, why have so many beneficiaries not received it. This shows it must have gone into wrong hands."

Kulwant Kaur, another worker who is part of the ongoing construction at government school in Thuhi village of Nabha, said, "I didn't receive any help from the government during the lockdown. If the money has been disbursed, where has it gone?... into whose account?"

Another worker, Kuldeep Singh, who doesn't have money to purchase groceries, said whenever he visited bank to enquire about the amount, he had to return disheartened. "Some middlemen could have managed fake registrations, thus depriving the real beneficiaries like us of the much-needed help," he said.

Officials in the Labour Department said they had initiated tele-verification of the disbursed grant. JP Singh, Assistant Labour Commissioner, Patiala, said, "All workers have received the grant. If someone has been left out, we will verify it. The delay could be on account of incomplete bank details."

VK Janjua, Principal Secretary, Labour Department, said, "Bank-related issues have surfaced in some districts. I will direct the labour officers to fix these."



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