contract-labourCorruption ! Ugly corruption ! And how ugly does it get? Well, for that you must know this one. In NMMC, we’ve heard of so many ways of corruption and of so many scams but what we are reporting today speaks of how unethical and inhumane levels of corruption have become in NMMC. Provident funds of poor contract labours – yes you heard it right. NMMC contractors, officials and corporators have not even spared the dues of the poor for scamming this time. Cleaning and sweeping the streets and roads of your city from morning 7 to afternoon 3 for the last 15 years for a meager salary of Rs. 6000, of which part is cut in the name of Provident Fund and the remaining few thousands are all that is left to feed one mother – in – law and three children, bear the cost of sending them to school and manage other basic necessities of life ! Meet Vasanti Pagde – a 40-year-old; only earning member of her family who is a contract labour with NMMC. The story of 30 years old Asha Dushant is no different – another NMMC contract labour who is again the only earning member of her family and has the responsibility of raising three children. Like Vasanti and Asha, even 42-years-old Shanta Babasaheb’s battle for survival begins every morning at 5. Vasanti, Asha, Shanta are just three of the some 5000 odd contract labours working with NMMC; or should we introduce them as the unsung heroes of every Sant Gadge Baba Cleanliness award that Navi Mumbai has ever won or is often praised for ! And you know what is the tragic truth of our system??! Even these poorest of the poor have not been spared by the ugly tentacles of corruption that plagues NMMC. This time the corporators-contractors-officials nexus is scamming with the Provident Funds of these labours for pocketing benefits – a scam that from the looks of it might even be running into Crores by now. City’s very own dynamic RTI activist Sandeep Thakur found out the irregularities, when contract labors approached him with the injustice being done to them. According to the law, 12% of the wages given to each contract labour should be paid as PF. In NMMC however, it is a known fact that contractors deduct PF from the wages of contract labours but do not pay it to the PF Commissioner’s office. While NMMC was denying the allegations, the PF Office at Vashi confirmed the reports of irregularities being committed by NMMC contractors in paying PF dues. In fact the corrupt minds in NMMC seem to have innovated their ways of corruption. They have been cheating the poor labours by various ways – if one is by not paying PF at all, the other is showing them absent for months even when these labours were on duty, just so that they could escape from paying PF of labours. When it is Sandeep Thakur raising the issue with NMMC; it did not come as a surprise that the Commissioner himself took serious note of it. According to Sandeep Thakur, NMMC has failed to act in accordance with the Labour Demolition and Regulation Act by not supervising whether their contractors were paying PF or not. While the administration feigns ignorance of the irregularity, the public knows better than that. The PF scam could not have been possible without officials and contractors playing hand in gloves. Being the principle employer, it was NMMC’s duty to check whether the contractors were paying PF or not, but NMMC failed the poor for reasons not hard to understand. This is not the job of civilians to remind NMMC of their duty, says the RTI activist. Contract labours in NMMC do not even know what PF is even though they are aware that their contractors deducts some amount from their wages every month. Only contractors, officials and corporators who have a dead conscience can form a nexus to rob these poor people to fill their pockets. Shame on them ! When you see PF scam where officials, contractors and corporators in NMMC are looting the poorest of the poor and violating their human rights, you start believing that Anna Hazare is indeed right when he says that “the politician-bureaucrat nexus looting the nation, pose a greater danger to the country; even more than terrorists. With bureau inputs and cameraperson Vinayak Dalvi, Sana Warsia for NMTV News.

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