Home / Day: August 19, 2010
From the Hindustan Times http://www.hindustantimes.com/SC-ST-funds-were-diverted/Article1-581958.aspx
The Delhi government has diverted million rupees meant for dalit welfare to fund preparations for the October Commonwealth Games, allege voluntary organizations.
Officials of Housing and Land Rights Network (HLRN) and National Campaign on Dalit and Human Rights (NCDHR) said the government diverted some 7,440 million rupees from the Special Component Plan (Scheduled Caste Sub Plan) to meet CWG-related expenses.
The allegation is based on the data provided by the Delhi government’s department for the welfare of SC/ST/OBC/Minorities in response to an Right to Information application, the Hindustan Times reported.
In the reply, details of the expenditure from the fund have been provided from the year 2006 to 2010 in a tabulated form.
“The diversion of funds is illegal. In the Planning Commission’s master guideline for the special component plan, the funds are non divertible and non lapsable,” said Miloon Kothari, executive director, HLRN.
Admitting that the government spent millions of rupees meant for the welfare of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes to fund preparations for the October Commonwealth Games, Delhi government officials said there was “nothing wrong in it”.
They said members of the reserved categories will eventually utilize the upcoming infrastructure projects and would benefit from them.
Mani Shankar Aiyar stirred up the pot last week when he told reporters, “Personally, I will be unhappy if the Commonwealth Games are successful.” Suresh Kalmadi, the head of the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee promptly labeled Aiyar “anti-national.”
CWG Fail? A recent cover story in India Today suggests that in spite of all the brave talk we are hearing from officials, failure of the Games in obvious and embarrassing variety is indeed an option: major sports venues are incomplete, and some of the venues that have been completed are falling apart before they have even been used. Housing and food arrangements for delegates and athletes are still up in the air. As disturbing as they are, plans to banish 75,000 beggars from Delhi’s streets are totally compatible with the ideology behind the drive to make Delhi a “World Class City.” But evicting thousands of students in order to find housing for athletes? That smells of desperation. We probably have no idea how bad things really are, because Chief Minister Dikshit recently ordered her ministers to keep their mouths shut as they go on inspections of Games facilities. But it seems obvious that the overall situation is very bad indeed. Of course if you think about it, this should come as no surprise. Delhi is one big construction zone, and most of what we are seeing on major roads and markets is a far cry from “finishing work.” Connaught Place is still a mess. Officials conceded on Friday that much important work there, including the subways, will not be finished in time for the Games. Crossing the outer circle will apparently continue to be a real adventure for months to come.
In fact, the government has known for a long time that its contractors have been violating wage, safety and labour standards, and what has it done? Children of Games workers, when they haven’t been working, have been denied their rights as well–you don’t need a hyper link for this if you live in Delhi, it’s out in the open. But here’s one anyway. With all that money, why couldn’t the Government insist that contractors put up some mobile creche facilities for these kids?
It wasn’t just a reckless driver who was responsible for the death of a fourteen year old and three of his co-workers last week; it was also the contractors who hired him to work illegally in unsafe conditions– and the government which failed to seriously enforce their own labour standards. And these workers are not alone; so far, dozens have died in Games-related projects. Violating labour laws is a way for contractors save money; it is a kind of corruption, a kind of theft. And far too often, it has deadly consequences, which makes it a kind of homicide, if you think about it.
Also, go check out out ACORN International’s Commonwealth Games Campaign. I’ve heard good things about this campaign. This site tells you how to sign a petition and get involved.
Thousands of crore may have been spent on setting up venues and the village for Commonwealth Games, but the men who actually lay the brick do not even get enough wages to afford one square meal for the family every day. A study by Child Relief and You (CRY) at the Siri Fort construction site has revealed 84% laborers are paid much less than the stipulated minimum wage of Rs 203 per day for unskilled workers.
According to CRY’s survey conducted over a period of two months at other sites like Dhyan Chand National Stadium, R K Khanna Stadium, Talkatora Stadium, JLN Stadium and Lodhi Road, children of theseconstruction workers have to live in inhuman conditions. They go without quality food, safe drinking water, healthcare and formal schooling, the report says.
‘‘We interviewed many construction workers at the Siri Fort construction site and found a majority of them were paid only about 60% of the stipulated amount, which is anyway too less. As a result, these workers can’t even provide adequate food to their children,’’ said Yogita Verma, director, CRY.
As per the findings, while unskilled workers were being paid Rs 85 to Rs 100 per day, skilled workers earned around Rs 120 every day. A 25-year-old worker at the Games Village site told CRY that a large chunk of his wages was taken away by the contractor.
‘‘Our entire family is cramped into a plastic tent. Whenever media persons come, the site supervisor bluffs them by saying that workers receive Rs 200 and masons get Rs 500. We only get a part of it, the rest goes to the contractor,’’ he claimed.
Verma said, ‘‘We are trying to build such a fantastic image of our country but the children of these workers do not even go to school. They just loiter around all day as these sites do not even have any facility for a crèche.’’ The report also refers to a PIL filed in the Delhi high court according to which nearly 4.15 lakh daily-wage workers were working on six venue clusters and five standalone venues for the Games in the city. CRY found children of many such workers had to drop out of school when the family migrated to the city from their place of residence.
Original article: http://2010commonwealthgamesindia.blogspot.com/2010/08/child-labor-see-what-oc-is-doing-shame.html