Srinagar: As Labour Department has no mechanism in place to cap labour charges, people here complain that the skilled and non-skilled manpower hired for carrying out construction work overcharges them.
Kashmir’s construction activity relies mostly on non-local labourers – skilled and non-skilled – as local labour is not readily available. People say that masons, carpenters, plumbers and other labourers have hiked their charges manifold in absence of any regulatory mechanism.
Saleem Arif, a resident of Raj Bagh, said a mason from Bihar who was charging Rs 15 per square feet for installing marble is now charging Rs 45 for the same.
He said that he had approached the Labour Department, “but to no avail”.
Abdul Rashid, who is constructing a house, said a mason charges Rs 800 for a day’s work which was only Rs 500 a year ago. Similarly, a labourer charges nothing less than Rs 600. He said, in addition, to exorbitant wages, the problem of lack of skilled manpower is also a hurdle in construction business.
Meanwhile, Ghulam Rasool Kumar, Assistant Labour Commissioner, said there is no law that can regulate daily wage charges of skilled manpower. He, however, said that people should approach district administration with such complaints.
“The labour department notifies minimum wages, but there is no law that can allow us to do capping of labour charges. Any such complaints can be addressed by the district administration as they have the powers to regulate daily wages to ensure that over charging does not take place,” Kumar said.