Bogus death certificates of workers created to siphon off funds

Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board is entrusted with the disbursal of death relief to registered workers

Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board is entrusted with the disbursal of death relief to registered workers

The Telangana Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board may have become a perennial source for fraudsters to siphon off funds through various dubious means.

A fresh scam has surfaced, of bogus death certificates uploaded onto the Board’s website, in order to claim death relief from the Board’s funds.

As custodian of the funds to the tune of thousands of crores of rupees garnered through welfare cess collected on each construction project, the Board is entrusted with the responsibility of disbursal of accidental/natural death relief to the registered building/other construction workers.

While it is generally noticed that the Telangana State has an influx of construction workers from other States who are not registered with the Board, death claims are being consistently submitted to the Board nevertheless.

Two years ago, multiple instances of bogus registrations and claims in the name of random persons surfaced, resulting in the Labour department ordering inquiry into the irregularities in 11 districts where unusually high number of claims were submitted.

In the fresh instance, an inquiry was ordered with regard to several claims from a few tribal hamlets of Suryapet district in 2021, and during the course of inquiry, it was revealed that all the claims submitted from there were accompanied by bogus death certificates.

A departmental inquiry has reportedly revealed that five claims from Mouniya Nayak Tanda, four each from Thummala Pen Pahad village panchayat and Pandya Nayak Tanda, and two from Raju Tanda had no valid basis whatsoever.

The claims were received online with attached death certificates, and upon enquiry with the village panchayat, the authorised body to issue death certificates, it was revealed that none of the certificates were issued by the respective panchayats. Signatures of the respective village secretaries too did not match with the same on the certificates, indicating serious attempt at fraud, sources informed.

Based on the report, the enquiry officer reportedly recommended an extensive and Statewide verification of claims to be ordered by the Board. It is not yet known if the same has been carried out.

Further, the report suggested proper verification of each and every claim, supported by detailed inspection report of the Assistant Labour Officer concerned. As all the death certificates have been made online at Panchayat and Municipal level, the report suggested linking the Board’s portal with the same so that online verification may be carried out.

Biometric registration should be made mandatory for the workers and ALOs and nodal officers should be trained with proper guidelines to ensure uniformity, the report suggested. The entire process of claim processing may be entrusted to a competent insurance company, it said.

Secretary & CEO of the Telangana Building and Other Construction Workers’ Welfare Board E. Gangadhar denied receiving any such enquiry report. He said it is the duty of the district level nodal officers to enquire into the claims and upload only valid claims on to the portal.

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