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Supreme Court irked over Centre's reply, summons labour secretary

New Delhi:  Dissatisfied over government's reply on the proposed use of a whopping Rs 27,000 crore meant for welfare of construction workers, the Supreme Court on Friday summoned the Union labour secretary to appear in
PTI September 04, 2015 19:48 IST
PTI

New Delhi:  Dissatisfied over government's reply on the proposed use of a whopping Rs 27,000 crore meant for welfare of construction workers, the Supreme Court on Friday summoned the Union labour secretary to appear in person and apprise it of the plans to spend the money collected through a cess.

"We simply wanted to know as to what steps you want to take to spend the money. This is lackadaisical. Ask your secretary to appear in person on next Friday," the social justice bench of Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice UU Lalit said.

The court termed the approach of the Centre, states and the Union territories as "casual" and asked them to apprise it of their plans on spending the money.

It also asked amicus curiae and senior advocate Vivek K Tankha to give suggestions on the issue.

Earlier, the counsel for the government had told the bench that he will discuss the matter with the labour secretary inform it about the steps which would be taken to spend the amount collected.

The court had then observed that the governments have "no clue what to do with the thousands of crores that have been collected under the Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Cess Act, 1996."

It had said it was "ridiculous" that the money meant for the workers was spent on the 'babus' and advertisements.

During the previous hearings, the amicus curiae had also said that Rajasthan had collected Rs 588.36 crore, but disbursed only Rs 59.45 crores, the details of which were also not available.

"Uttar Pradesh has collected Rs 1580.1 crores, but has disbursed Rs 180.79 crores, again the details of this are not available. Finally, the NCT of Delhi has collected Rs.1396.58 crores, but has disbursed Rs 39.37 crores and unintelligible details are made available," the court had said.

"In all the other years, the amount disbursed has been less than one crore except in the year 2014-15 when about Rs 1.8 crores have been disbursed," it had said.