Belapur: The Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation standing committee approved the payment of arrears payable to the nearly 4500 contract workers employed by contractors of the corporation. 

The SC held back the proposal last week without any reason, though it is learnt that the ruling BJP wanted to stall the credit for the same being usurped by the MNS, who had cleverly agitated for the same under the leadership of Amit Thackeray and Gajanan Kale after learning that the proposal was to be placed by the BJP in the last meeting of the SC. 
The BJP majority SC stalled the proposal for a week and approved it in this week’s SC meeting on January 24.

Who gains and who loses and what is the arrears, needs to be understood. When wages are revised after all due approvals, the administration has to seek budget approval from the SC for paying the same. Hence this is an amount that must be paid. Strangely there is no time schedule fixed for the same. Since the wage hike is approved, interim budget provisions have to be made, if not already made. Strangely also there is no interest payable for the delayed payment, which in the present case is 14 months. Delaying payment of arrears to the Contract workers should be viewed as a serious case of exploitation and harassment, as also the delay in paying their monthly wages without any interest on the same. Thus, the loss of delay is borne only by the workers and politicians and political parties gain by claiming undue, undeserving credit for the same. 

Politicians and political parties should fix a timeline for the payment of the arrears and regular wages, instead of taking credit for sanctioning payment that is lawfully due to the contract workers. 

It is also alleged that a fixed amount is to be paid by the contract workers for this SC approval, which if true, is nothing short of a bribe and shameful corruption. Most of the contract workers do not mind paying this bribe that totals to a few lakhs of rupees, as this predominantly economically weaker section wrongly  consider the arrears a favor by the political bosses and not their legal right. 

The auditors should also be raising queries about withholding payment for delayed periods without payment of interest. Or else delayed payments like delayed promotions in the corporation will continue to remain an additional source of sin money to the political and bureacratic authorities.