Patiala, October 5
The Labour Welfare Fund, meant for the welfare of construction workers, is allegedly being misused by senior Labour Department officials.
Information obtained under the RTI Act revealed that the money was being mainly used as an “entertainment allowance” and for refuelling cars.
The entertainment allowance is a sum given to employees for their expenses incurred on meals, hotels, drinks and watching movies.
It was learnt that the Vice-Chairman of the Building and Other Construction Workers’ (BOCW) Board, who happens to be a Principal Secretary of the Labour Department, receives an entertainment allowance of Rs 3,500 per month.
However, board officials claimed that Section 24 of the BOCW Act allowed them to incur expenses towards salaries, allowances and other remuneration of its members, officers and other employees. It also allowed them to meet other administrative expenses not exceeding 5 per cent of its total spending during a financial year, they said.
A lot of irregularities had allegedly been committed when it came to the use of office cars. Vehicles purchased to expedite the registration process of construction workers in the field were being used at the head office in Mohali.
While the BOCW Board headquarters in Mohali had seven cars with it, the Labour Department in Patiala had no vehicle for the field work.
Asked about the alleged misuse of the vehicles, Manvesh Singh, Principal Secretary, Labour Department, said, “Labour officers in Patiala will be given a new car as the existing vehicles are 12 years old.”
RTI activist Vijay Walia said, “All senior officials of the department are getting perks twice (from the government and the labour board). Cars are not being provided to the field inspectors for registration of workers.”
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