Callousness of Delhi govt over plight of construction workers in CWG projects infuriates Delhi HC: Exemplary compensation of Rs 1.23 crore awarded
Taking a very serious note of callousness of State Government towards construction workers engaged by various Government Agencies under various projects for Common Wealth Games, Division Bench of Hon'ble Delhi High Court comprising Chief Justice Deepak Mishra and Justice Manmohan, on 22.09.2010 has warned the state authorities to be mindful of their obligations and has awarded compensation to the victim workmen. Hon'ble Court observed: "Be it noted, the said authority should not feel that their job is over because the Member Secretary, DLSA is holding legal aid camps or assisting them. If the said authorities forget their statutory obligations, we may think of directing the State Government to initiate disciplinary proceedings against them." This order has come in the background of incident dated 21.09.10 where a footbridge near Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the main venue of the Commonwealth Games, collapsed rendering 23 construction workers injured and 4 critically injured. Delhi Government announced Rs 50,000/- for injured workers and Rs 1,00,000/- for critically injured workers as compensation which Hon ble Delhi High Court has increased to Rs. 1,00,000/- and Rs, 3,00,000/- respectively. In total the compensation so awarded reaches Rupees 35,00,000/-. On being informed that a First Information Report has been registered by the Police regarding this incident, Hon'ble court directed the investigation to be conducted by Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch). The court has passed these directions while hearing public interest litigation filed by People's Union for Democratic Rights on the issue of gross violations being done by the State Government in pursuit of Common Wealth Games. This latest order confirms that death of 109 workmen working under Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) only and till now in only 65 cases compensation has been paid by DMRC and for rest 44 cases Delhi Legal Services Authority is making intervention. However Court directed ex-gratia payment amounting to Rupees 2,00,000/- be paid within a period of two weeks to the legal heirs of deceased workmen, pending final decision of the Labour Welfare Fund Committee. Responding to the issue of contractors not making any arrangements for safety of workmen, Court has directed the Labour Commissioner, the Deputy Labour Commissioner and the Assistant Labour Commissioner to visit each site where work is being conducted by various other agencies and to find out the number of deaths occurred on those sites and to ensure that safety equipments are given to the workmen and has warned of contempt proceedings in case of any failure in this regard. When lawyer for the petitioner Adv . Tariq Adeeb, appraised the Court about no improvement in the living conditions of the workmen in spite of Court's earlier direction, Court directed: "& We direct that the Chairman of NDMC, Commissioner of MCD, Vice-Chairman of DDA, Director General of Sports Authority of India, Director General of CPWD, Managing Director of Delhi International Airport Limited and Executive Director of DMRC shall be personally liable if any deviancy is shown."