New Delhi: The supreme court has expressed its shock and distress over misuse of Construction Workers Welfare Fund by buying laptops and washing machines.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (Cag) while filing an affidavit in the apex court has given the details of the spending of the construction workers fund. Out of Rs 29,000 crore fund meant for construction workers welfare were spend to buy laptops and washing machines for them and only 10% spent on the actual purpose, the Cag has pointed out.
The state of affairs is  “shocking” and “extremely distressing”, observed a division bench comprising of justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta. The bench saidn that the funds, collected by the government through a cess under theBuilding and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996, were being “frittered away” and diverted, instead of being spent on welfare of the beneficiaries.

A  bench has directed the union labour secretary to appear before it on November 10 “to understand how the act was being implemented and why it was being misused, if not abused.”

The court, while hearing a PIL filed by National Campaign Committee for Central Legislation on Construction Labour, had earlier directed the Cag to file a report on how crores of rupees of the welfare fund has been spent.

The petitioner has alleged that the statutory cess levied on real estate firms for the welfare of construction workers was not being utilised properly as there was no mechanism to identify the beneficiaries for extending the benefits.