Bhubaneswar: Center for Advocacy and Research (CFAR), an NGO working for the development of slum dwellers with the support of Azmi Premji Philanthropic Initiatives organized a Public Hearing for construction workers on 31st January at YMCA, Bhubaneswar. In the public hearing more than 120 male and female construction workers from different settlements i.e., Maa Mangalabasti, Eshaneswar, Ricksh-colony ,Maa Mangala Basti(Lumibin Vihar), Ganganagar Palli, Ganganagar, Bhimpur, Kelashi and Jharanasahi etc participated and shared their plights. The Public hearing was jointly inaugurated by the guests and jury members Mr, Subhash Singh(Chairman Odisha Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board (B&OCWWBoard), Sri Hrudaya Ballabh(Rtd Justice CBI Mr. Pradeep Mohapatra(Assistant Labour Commissioner), Mr. Kishore Jena, Naba Kishore Mohanty, Rama Krushna Panda(Members, OB&OCWW Board), Sandeep Pattnayak(NCAS) and Ghashiram Panda (Action Aid).
In the beginning of the public hearing, Mamata Singh(State Asst. Project Coordinator, CFAR welcomed all the participants and introduced the guests to the program. Mr. Sameer Ranjan Dash(State Project Coordinator, CFAR) sharing the objectives, mission, vision and activities of the CFAR explained on “PRAYASH” the single window system runs by CFAR. Also he shared and how the project “PRAYASH” is being reaching out to the community and helping them to get access to their rights and entitlements. Mrs. Pujafulla Pattnayak(State Manager, CFAR) who also presided over the PH shared on the research finding recently done by CFAR on the functioning of the Odisha Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board (B&OCWWB). Sharing the findings she said “the study was conducted surveying 230 construction workers and found that out of 230, only 110 have got registered under the welfare schemes and 27 and 13 workers from those registered have renewed their cards once and twice respectively.” “However, they are still waiting for benefits to be availed under the scheme” she shared. Sharing the plights of the construction workers, she also highlighted how the construction workers are being cheated by middle man when they try to avail benefits under the scheme.
Mr. Subhas Singh, (Chairman, B&OCWWB) addressing the public hearing emphasized on the role of the Board in providing service to the construction workers said “strong legal action will be taken against the brokers, agencies who have accumulated huge amount of money for making labour cards”
Many construction workers read out their testimonies which they submitted before the panel members of the Public Hearing. All the panelists after hearing the plights of the construction workers became displeased over the functioning of the Board and demanded immediate relief to the construction workers. They stressed on the dignity of work and welfare of construction workers. They also urged the Govt. to look into the matter seriously and demand for their wage hike, implementation of the scheme in its true spirit, work for the skill development of the workers by providing proper trainings. Besides, the panelists emphasized on the equal pay for both man and woman and special treatment of women workers in the work place. The guest panelists also appreciated the consistent efforts of CFAR towards making the slum dwellers and construction workers aware of their rights and helping them towards achieving them.
Sri Pradipta Mahapatra, Assistant Labour Commissioner joining in the PH from the government’s side assured the participants to take appropriate measures to deal with the problems raised in the PH. At the end of the programme, Sukanta Kumar Sahu(Centre Coordinator, CFAR) gave vote of thanks to all the guests and participants of the public hearing.