BHUBANESWAR: Even as the State Government has collected over `848 crore as cess from construction projects in the last eight years towards welfare of construction workers, very little contribution has come in from big industries setting up shop in the State.
The State Government has been collecting one per cent cess on construction projects under the provisions of Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Condition of Services) Act since 2008-09. The collection, though, picked up pace in the last two-and-a-half years during which close to ` four crore was mobilised.
To expand scope of the cess net, the Government has now decided to strictly enforce the levy on all construction works including individual housing projects from January 1, 2016. As per the norms, those undertaking construction will have to deposit one per cent of the project cost as cess with the Labour and Employees’ State Insurance Department during plan approval process.
The Government will issue a notification under which every person undertaking construction worth `10 lakh and above will have to pay one per cent of the project cost as cess. The development authority will not approve the building plan unless applicant produces the cess payment document, Chairman of Building and Other Construction Worker’s Welfare Board Subash Singh said. Despite existence of the Act, he admitted that contribution from the industries has not been significant as some of them have moved the court against the provisions of the Act. Though the Board has got favourable direction from the court, it has been challenged in the Supreme Court, he said.
Singh said the Board does not have the necessary manpower to collect the cess since the scope is huge but Government has asked the administrative departments to follow the Act and enhance cess collection. So far, over 11.49 lakh construction workers have been registered with the Board which has spent over `73.63 crore on various welfare measures.