83 establishments owe Rs 4.37 cr to EPFO in Ludhiana : The Tribune India

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83 establishments owe Rs 4.37 cr to EPFO in Ludhiana

9 top defaulters not paid Rs 3.21 cr, final notice served to clear dues

83 establishments owe Rs 4.37 cr to EPFO in Ludhiana

The EPFO building in Ludhiana. file

Tribune News Service

Nitin Jain

Ludhiana, April 20

As many as 83 establishments have defaulted in deposit of provident fund (PF) amounting to a whopping Rs 4.37 crore in Ludhiana, the Regional Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has confirmed.

Of the total establishments, the top nine defaulters have not paid the PF of their employees, amounting to Rs 3.21 crore, which constitutes almost 74 per cent of the total default money, officials have said.

Taking serious note of the lapse, the Ludhiana Regional office of the EPFO has warned the defaulters of strict penal action in case of their failure to clear their default amounts forthwith.

The defaulting establishments in the business and industrial hub of the North have been issued the final notice to clear their pending statutory dues without any further delay, else, proceedings to initiate penal action will be initiated against them.

The penal action entails attachment of movable/immovable properties of the defaulting establishments and employers, appointment of receivers, attachment of their bank accounts, receiving amount from third party dues, arrests and detentions of the defaulters in the civil prison and filing of cases under appropriate sections of the relevant law provisions.

Regional Provident Fund Commissioner-1 (RPFC-1) Saurabh Swami told The Tribune here on Saturday that the EPFO’s regional office in Ludhiana, functioning under the Union Ministry of Labour and Employment, has been undertaking a sustained campaign for the purpose of recovering pending statutory dues from the defaulting establishments since January.

“Under the ongoing efforts to ensure strict compliance, we have announced the top nine defaulting establishments that have failed to deposit the amount as levied under the Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions (EPFMP) Act, 1952,” he said.

Swami disclosed that these establishments have repeatedly neglected their obligation to remit employees’ contribution under Section 7A, penalties under Section 14B, and interest under Section 7Q, levied against them and have violated law provisions under the Act.

“The nine establishments constitute around 74 per cent of pending arrear demand, which affects hundreds of members of the EPF and EPS,” he stated.

He said enforcement officers had been directed to augment the recovery from the defaulting establishments under the special drive and prepare documentation for launching penal proceedings against the defaulters, who fail to fall in line.

The regional office of the EPFO here has jurisdiction over the employees working in the establishments covered under the EPFMP Act, across the state’s biggest and largest district, in terms of area and population.

“Under the drive, action will be initiated against the establishments which fail to remit the assessed amount immediately,” Swami asserted while informing that the data of defaulters had been tabulated to initiate the recovery and further proceedings.

The RPFC-1 added that directions had been issued to all defaulting establishments to clear their pending statutory dues, thereby avoiding penal action as per Sections 8B to 8G of the EPFMP Act.

During the last financial year, the Ludhiana EPFO had recovered Rs 30.22 crore from 49 defaulter establishments. It was almost 94 per cent of the total demand and arrears of dues assessed before April 1, 2023, which were supposed to be paid till March 31, 2024.

Besides, the Union Labour and Employment Ministry’s social security provider to the employees’ working in the public, private establishments and cooperative societies in the shape of provident fund, pension and insurance schemes had also settled as many as 2.95 lakh claims amounting to Rs 898 crore during the last fiscal year.

Will pay soon: Defaulters

Defaulter establishments gave a standard reply that they will check their records and dues, if any, will be paid shortly.

Dues run into crores

As per initial estimates, the amount of dues from the defaulting establishments run into crores of rupees, which if recovered, will give a massive financial boost to the state exchequer.

Penal action to be stringent

The penal action will include the attachment and sale of movable/ immovable property of establishments and employers or the person who, or the authority which had the ultimate control over the affairs of the establishment during period of default, appointment of receiver’s attachment of the bank account, receiving amount from third party dues, arrest and detention in the civil prison, filing of case under appropriate sections. — Saurabh Swami, RPFC-1, Ludhiana

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