The State Government has constituted Himachal Pradesh Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board with a view to protect the interests of the workers in different public and private organizations and authorized them to build transit hostels at places having more than 300 construction workers.

Addressing a meeting of four trade unions of the state, Chief Minister said the government had taken a number of steps for the welfare of workers. A fund had been created for the purpose by imposing 1 per cent of the total project cost as cess on the builders. The benefits, accruing to members of the fund, included monthly pension of Rs 500 per month to the members completing five years of service, Rs 10,000 as maternity benefit to female workers, while male members would be entitled to Rs 1,000 as paternity benefit. He said that Disability pension of Rs. 500 per month with ex-gratia grant of Rs. 10,000 was also being provided out of the Fund in the case of the disability being 50 percent and above and Rs. 5,000 in other cases. He said that loan facility of upto Rs. 6,000 to the members to purchase tools etc. He said that the Board was competent to sanction funeral assistance of Rs. 5,000 to the nominees/dependents of a deceased.

Chief Minister said that Financial Assistance for education of the children of the members had also been provided under the Fund provisions which ranged between Rs. 500 to Rs. 10,000 per annum and was available from Ist Standard to Ph.D level subject to the laid down conditions. He said that marriage grant of Rs. 11,000 was also available to the members for the marriage of his two children while the unmarried female member was also eligible to avail the grant. He said that any worker would be eligible to avail the benefits out of the Fund subject to the condition that he was registered member of the Fund and was regularly contributing Rs. 10 instead of Rs. 20 earlier, per month as member fee towards the Fund.

Chief Minister said that the Board had been authorized to construct Workers Transit Hostel for construction workers at the places where more than 300 construction workers were registered as beneficiaries on such terms and conditions laid down by the Board. He said that for convenient conveyance a grant of Rs. 2,000 was being made available to the lady worker to purchase bicycle. He said that all financial benefits under the rules other than death benefits and medical assistance in cases of accidents shall become payable only after six months of a person becoming member of the Fund. He said that the Board was also competent to provide insurance cover to the workers on payment of insurance premium partly or fully on behalf of the beneficiaries from the Fund by adopting any Health Insurance Scheme. He said that many more benefits were also available to the construction workers as per the recommendations of the Board members. He said that the State Government was implementing the minimum wage conditions in favour of the workers besides creating quality infrastructure of basic amenities of education, health, electricity, road and drinking water etc. He said that it was during present term of the Government that the daily wages of workers were increased by Rs. 45 which was record hike benefitting lakhs of workers in the State. He said that workers in tribal areas were eligible to 25 percent additional wages.

The representatives of the Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), the All-India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) and the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) attended the meeting. They included BMS Chairman Surender Thakur, INTUC Chairman Hardeep Singh Baba, AITUC Chairman Jagdish Bhardwaj and CITU Chairman Jagat Ram. Leaders of different Trade Unions thanked the Chief Minister for his labour welfare attitude and urged him to provide them fair representations in the labour welfare organizations. They also apprised the Chief Minister of their various other demands which Chief Minister assured for resolving on priority.