CUTTACK: The Orissa High Court on Thursday sought an explanation from the state government on why there was a huge gap between the cess collected on the cost of constructions and expenditure incurred towards the welfare of registered construction workers during the first six months of 2022-23.
The court was hearing a PIL concerning the state government’s actions to strictly implement the provisions of Building and other Construction Workers Welfares Cess Act, 1996 as well as the Building and Other Construction Workers’ (Regulation and Condition of Services) Act, 1996. Odisha State Legal Services Authority (OSLSA) filed the petition.
The two-judge bench of Chief Justice S Muralidhar and Justice MS Raman issued direction after it found in the state government’s affidavit that the amount of cess collected during the first six months of 2022-23 was Rs 260 crore, but the expenditure incurred towards welfare benefits for registered construction workers was Rs 61 crore.
The benefits extended to the registered construction workers include maternity benefit of Rs 50,000 per child (maximum two) to female beneficiaries, marriage assistance of Rs 50,000 for self or dependant girl child, funeral assistance of Rs 5,000, financial assistance for education of children and death benefits.
The bench also directed the state government to file on affidavit explaining how it plans to close the gap by the end of 2022-23 fiscal year.