Mumbai: BJP MLA Yogesh Sagar has urged the Union Minister for Labour and Employment, Bhupendra Yadav to thoroughly probe an alleged provident fund (PF) scam and take legal action against those involved in it. The BJP leader has alleged that the contract cleaners PF has been scammed to the tune of INR 190 Crore while BEST employees numbers stand at INR 6.5 Crore.
BJP leader Yogesh Sagar has written a letter to Bhupendra Yadav, Union Minister for Labour and Employment raising concern regarding the Provident Fund for BEST employees and cleaners in Mumbai.
The BJP MLA has alleged that some officials of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) along with the contractors are ‘plundering’ the hard-earned money of the said public transport service workers and cleaners.
This money rightfully belongs to these workers and their families. The officials of BMC, by manipulating private contractors, are squandering the provident fund of these BEST employees and cleaners and are thus playing with the lives of these workers and their future,” excerpts from Sagar’s letter read.
The BJP leader in his letter has alleged that the contract cleaners Provident Fund has been scammed to the tune of INR 190 Crore while BEST employees Provident Fund has been scammed to the tune of INR 6.5 Crore.
Since the year 2009, BMC has recruited around 6500 contract workers. The provident fund of these workers was not deposited, neither were they given a PF number. From the year 2009 till now, INR 3,80,000/- (Three Lakh Eighty Thousand) per worker should have been deposited in their PF account. However, neither the PF number was generated nor were the funds deposited. The question of where this INR 190 Crore of 6,500 workers went, remains unanswered. These workers have continuously raised their voices on the said issue but the Municipal Corporation and the contractors did not pay heed, nor did they give any clarification,” Sagar said.
“In May 2018, Mr Rajesh Kumar, Principal Secretary, Department of Labour, had directed that full details of workers provident fund should be received within a fortnight and attendance & salary sheets should be received within three days. He had also instructed that early action should be taken against the non-accumulation of salary in the provident fund. However, no action has been taken to date and the Municipal Commissioner has not even taken notice of the same. This proves that a large corrupt chain of local administration and contractors is working under the behest of their seniors,” the BJP leader alleged.
Sagar also highlighted that the BEST department has leased 286 buses and these buses run in the Bandra, Wadala, Vikhroli and Kurla areas of Mumbai and has 898 employees working under it. Now, the contractor has been delaying the payment of wages to these workers since November 2021, however, an even more serious issue is that the provident fund deducted from the wages of these workers has not been credited to the PF account of the concerned employee.
Under the pretext of a provident fund, a deduction of about INR 1,500 per month per employee has been made, which means, in just 6 months INR 1.20 crore has been looted from these workers. Besides, the employees have not received their salaries for the last 3 months which amounts to INR 5 Crore. The corruption is to the last level where the concerned administration is depredating money of the poor workers and their families.
“Despite the agitation, the voice of these employees does not reach or falls on deaf ears of Maharashtra’s Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government. It is alleged that the BMC Commissioner is also deliberately ignoring the matter. According to the prevailing law, it is the duty and responsibility of the BMC to pay regular monthly salary and provident funds to these employees. But with the connivance of administration officials and private contractors, the workers’ provident fund is being plundered,” Sagar said.
The BJP MLA has urged the Union Minister to thoroughly investigate this provident fund scam and take legal action against those involved in it.