MCD contractors pocket much heftier sum: CAT

New Delhi: Observing that MCD contractors pocket a much heftier sum than what they pay to daily wagers, the Central Administrative Tribunal has asked the civic body to consider employing 43 pump operators working for it for many years.

"I have found that in comparison with wages of the applicants (daily wagers), who are getting less than Rs 200 per day, the amount being paid to contractors is very high taken on a monthly comparative basis," the CAT bench of Justice B K Suresh said while asking MCD to consider employing on a regular basis its 43-odd pump operators.

The pump operators were employed through MCD contractors as daily wagers and working with the civic body for many years.

"The official respondents (MCD commissioner) are directed to consider (employing) the applicants (43 daily wagers) on a regular basis as per their seniority, in place of freshers wherever regular work or work of nearly regular nature is available," the CAT said.

The CAT recommended their absorption as regular employees of the civic body, saying that creating a sanitized environment for citizens is part of its statutory obligation.

"Prima facie, if the applicants are engaged and thus allowed to survive, it may benefit the respondents department and the general public as well. Therefore, the operation of the pumps is done as part of its functional requirement," it said.

The CAT's order came on petition by 43 daily wagers, working as pump operators with the MCD for the last several years. Engaged by the MCD through contractors, they used to work for 84 pumping stations, which are functional almost during the entire year.

The workers, in their petition, said that as soon as the monsoon season gets over, the civic body disengages them through contractors, creating "legal and statutory prejudice against them."

"Administrative authority is arbitrarily allocating the work to the contractors and causing loss to the public exchequer and blocking their right to life and livelihood," the workers said.

The MCD, on its part, said that the petitioners are seasonal employees and they cannot be given the rights of regular employees.

MCD officials said that daily wagers were paid around Rs 10,000 for two years from 2007-2009 but the bench after inspecting the files found that huge amounts were being paid to the contractors while the workers were exploited below subsistence level.