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NEW: ‘Do Not Know What Benefits Are Provided Under The BOCW’

Q. Are you a resident of this village?

Construction Worker: Yes, I am from this village. I work in the village's kiln, and in the local fields. I also work in places around the village and go to other districts of Bihar to work.

Q. Are you registered with the Building and Other Construction Workers (BOCW)* Welfare Board?

Construction Worker: Yes, I am registered in a block in Vaishali, Bihar.

Q. Have you got benefits under the BOCW at source or destination?

Construction Worker: Yes, I received ₹3,000 in 2018 and 2019, but did not receive any benefits in the following years. Some people here also received money for their daughter’s marriage, but I did not get the same for my daughter’s wedding.

Q. Have you faced any challenges with respect to receiving benefits under BOCW?

Construction Worker: I do not know what benefits are provided under the BOCW. I am only talking about the benefits which I or someone around me has received so far. I get paid ₹200, and sometimes ₹300, for a day’s work. As I mentioned earlier, I did not receive any support for my daughter’s wedding. Also, I did not receive any benefits when I worked in other districts of the state.

Q. Is creche facility available at your workplace? What kind of services do you see in the creche?

Construction Worker: Yes, creche facility is available near the kiln. A shed has been constructed at the worksite where children can play. At times, some people from an organisation come there to teach the children.

Q. Have you worked under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS)? If yes, for how many days in a year, when, and why did you leave that work?

Construction Worker: Yes, I worked under the scheme in 2020 for a few days. Initially, I didn't get any money for the work, but with the help of an in-charge, I was able to get some money. The amount which I received was very little; I didn't work under MGNREGS after that.

Q. Have you received a safety kit or an essential kit from BOCW?

Construction Worker: No, I have not received any essential kit.

Q. Did you get any grant or money during the COVID-19 lockdown?

Construction Worker: Yes, at that time I got around ₹500 in my Jan Dhan account. I also got some work from the Panchayat but I don't know under which scheme or department.

Image Credits: M. Moorthy/ The Hindu

This interview was conducted with a Construction Worker in Bihar in Hindi on 29 September 2022, and has been translated.

* Under the Building and Other Construction Workers (BOCW) Act, 1996, building and other construction workers (that include brick kiln workers) are required to be registered with state-level Construction Workers’ Welfare Boards. Minimum safety standards and conditions of employment for construction workers have also been prescribed under the act.

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