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Pension given to 11 construction workers

Staff Reporter

At a time when they were groping in the dark for sustenance, the pension of Rs.200 a month came, though modest.

TIRUCHI: : Their wrinkled faces lit up with faint smiles, 11 aged construction workers in Tiruchi district received pension cheques from the Minister for Labour Welfare, P. Annavi, on Sunday.

They were past their prime, and virtually in a quandary. For, they could no longer continue with their vocation with diluted productivity in a task that is physically grinding. These workers had `retired from service' at the age of 60.

At a time when they were groping in the dark for sustenance, the modest pension of Rs.200 a month they would be entitled to henceforth may not be sufficient even for a hand-to-mouth existence. But it has brought them at least minimal succour.

Nevertheless, it did reflect the responsibility of the State Government to provide a logical course to the activities of the Construction Workers' Board, which was formed in Tamil Nadu in 1994, prior to the formation of the Manual Workers' Welfare Board. Incidentally, it is for the first time in the State that workers in the unorganised sector have been considered eligible for their pension.

Cheques for a total sum of Rs. 26,400 were handed over to the beneficiaries from the funds of the Construction Workers' Welfare Board. The amount constituted pension arrears from the time of their registration with the Board, after 2000.

There are 52,000 construction workers registered with the Construction Workers' Welfare Board in Tiruchi, Pudukottai and Perambalur districts, and nearly 7 lakh in the entire State, said the Inspector of Labour, M. Solaimuthu.

All that unorganised workers had to do for availing themselves of this benefit was to pay just the registration charges and renew their registration once in two years. The amount charged for registration of construction labourers and workers in other unorganised sectors were Rs. 25 and Rs. 100 respectively. They were required to renew their registration once in two years by paying just Rs. 10.

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