More than one lakh still waiting for Rs 5,000 lockdown compensation

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Almost a year after the people lost their lives due to Covid-19, almost thousands of construction workers, barbers and washermen are still waiting to get the direct cash benefit amounting to Rs 5,000 as assured by the state government.

As per the data given by Assembly on inquiry, the government revealed about over one lakh construction workers and 14,000 washermen and barbers are still pending for giving the compensation amount. Regarding the question passed by MLA SM Ramdas, Labour Minister Shivaram Hebbar revealed about the compensation pending for as many as 1,02,034 unorganized construction workers due to ongoing writ petition in High Court and 14,719 washermen and barbers citing technical glitches.

However, around 16.48 lakh construction workers and 1.19 lakh barbers and washermen have received the compensation, revealed the government. Last year, in May 2020, B S Yediyurappa had declared a special package which was consisting of one-time compensation amount for various groups.

Appanna, state president of Karnataka Progressive Construction workers association, told to DH that the problem was two-fold. He said, “One issue is that the labour department received about 7 lakh applications between March and June 2020, with several suspected to be bogus. Hence, we have requested the department to verify before processing applications.”

Appanna further added, “The second issue is that many construction workers have not linked their bank accounts with Aadhaar and hence, their payment is stuck. There are many genuine beneficiaries left out of the loop as several of them still don’t have bank accounts.”

Apart from this, as many as 10,000 beneficiaries are still deprived of the benefits of various schemes under Karnataka Unorganized Construction Workers Welfare Board. The benefits comprise of monetary support for the purposes of education, wedding, funeral. Another problem was the lack of phones. Appanna said, “During the lockdown, the benefits were not given on time. Moreover, to register under the Board, a person must apply online and an OTP is sent to his or her phone. Many workers do not have phones with them. Several remain out of the purview of the system owing to this problem.”

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