Nearly 600 construction workers belonging to various labour unions staged a demonstration outside the Chief Minister’s official residence on Tuesday. They were protesting the government’s plan to reportedly use money collected from a cess on under-construction buildings to fund an official overseas trip by 15 officers of the Labour Department.
K V Bhat, State vice-president of All India United Construction Labourers Association, said the cess was being collected exclusively for taking up welfare programmes related to construction labourers. While `2,000 crore had been collected as cess for this purpose over the last five years, Bhat alleged that only `12.45 lakh had been spent on welfare programmes.
AIUTC State president Ananth Subba Rao claimed the current Congress government had violated rules by withdrawing about `1,000 crore of the `2,000 crore collected by the Karnataka Building and Other Construction Workers’ Welfare Board. “This money is being spent on building residential schools, construction academies, choultries and skill development centres. Instead, the government should spend this on programmes that directly benefit construction workers,” he argued.
Officials at the CM’s residence accepted a memorandum submitted by the protesters.