India: Thousands of workers to benefit from housing program
In the Southern part of India, workers registered with the Tamil Nadu Construction Workers’ Welfare Board (TNCWWB) are now eligible for a new housing program. This was announced earlier this year by the State’s Chief Minister.
Under the Tamil Nadu State Government, the program will be implemented by TNCWWB, led by its Chair, Ponkumar Ponnuswamy, who is also the President of the BWI-affiliated TKTMS. Through this program, 10,000 workers will reportedly enjoy an annual housing assistance of INR 400,000 (USD 4,865). The funds can be used by the beneficiaries to build houses in their own lands or purchase tenement houses built by the Tamil Nadu Urban Habitat Development Board.
The official launch of the housing program took place last 15 November 2022 with an initial 104 workers receiving certificates from the State Chief Minister assuring them of housing assistance amounting to INR 20,400,000 (USD 247,947).
The TNCWWB oversees the employment and conditions of service of building and construction workers in the State, including their health and safety. The Board has the mandate to guarantee different welfare measures to its registered workers. Between May 2021 and October 2022, the TNCWWB has provided welfare assistance to over 400,000 beneficiaries amounting to INR 3.22 billion (USD 39 million).
“The TKTMS has been, for the longest time, advocating for adequate housing assistance to construction workers. The workers who built many houses are often without a roof of their own to shelter their families. With the launch of the housing program under the Board, we have already started receiving numerous requests from different districts across the State reflecting on the strong need for such an initiative. The union is currently holding ‘awareness meetings’ in areas that it is under its organising efforts to expand the reach and coverage of the program,” Ponnuswamy said.