STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE
Dhenkanal, 5 December
Jolted into action by the glaring irregularities and violations that had been exposed following the 13 November blast at Bhusan Steel Plant here, the district administration has directed district labour department to be vigilant on activities of labour contractors.
The fact that there was no authentic list of laborers working at the plant site when the blast took place and that most contractors produced fake names and addresses of laborers has prompted the administration to crack the whip.
The laxity of supervision by all concerned right from the labor, factory and boilers authorities etc stood exposed when the government failed to draw up a list of workers at the plant site when the blast took place. This led to wild speculations over the death toll.
Top bureaucrats including the labor commissioner, secretary , director rushed to the spot and to their horror found that the company was brazenly violating labor and pollution laws. They were aghast to see that there was no proper register or muster roll enlisting the laborers who had been engaged. Some of the labor contractors allegedly did not even have a labor licence.
A couple of days ago, a joint verification team traced a contractor who provided a list of laborers that he had supplied to the plant and three on the list were missing since the blast. Subsequently, it was found that all three were safe , but the address given by the contractor was wrong.
The police suspect that the names, address etc contain many fake ones and it is difficult to ascertain the entire workforce in the plant.
Dhenkanal district collector Ms Roopa Roshan Sahoo said she had directed the district labour officer to supervise the working condition of labourers and their work duration, identity, address proof etc.
The labour license of contractors needs to be verified as per their given capacity as it was seen that many contractors were engaging laborers more than their licensed strength.
Reports said many contractors of BSL have got license from office of district labour office, Dhenkanal and some have license from office of DLO, Angul. This was also detected by P K Mohanty, district Labour office during investigation. Preliminary inquiry reports said many contractors have engaged more number of labourers as compared their demand on engagement of labourers as per authorized license to avoid PF and ESI contribution.
The branch manager of Angul ESI office Gourihar Das who is incharge of Dhenkanal unit informed that the contribution of contractors and actual engagement towards ESI are being reviewed by the regional office.
As per guidelines 1.75 percent of labourer&’s wage payment and 4.75 percent of employer should be contributed on ESI payment per month. All categories of labourers are coming under ESI.
The Bhushan Steel Shramik Sabha [ a labour union ] General Secretary P K Biswal said as many as 223 labourers had paid their share through vouchers but they are not covered under ESI and PF. We had reported this to the ESI and PF authorities since long, he added.