Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has approved a proposal to waive the requirement of completing 179 working days at the time of accident for the payment of ex-gratia lump sum compensation to casually paid labourers (CPLs) working in Border Roads Organisation (BRO) or General Engineering Reserve Force (GREF).
This information was released in an official statement from the Ministry of Defence. Previously, CPLs needed to have worked at least 179 days in BRO to qualify for the payment of ex-gratia lump sum compensation of Rs 5 lakh. This requirement had resulted in several families of deceased CPLs being deprived of the grant.
The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) units, situated in remote, snow-bound, high-altitude areas, are plagued by challenges such as harsh climate, difficult hilly terrain, risky work sites and occupational health hazards. These factors pose a significant risk to the lives of casually paid labourers (CPLs).
Given the deaths reported during their service, waiving the condition of minimum 179 working days on compassionate grounds could provide significant relief for the families of CPLs who lose their main source of income during government duty, thereby securing their livelihoods. Earlier, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had approved the extension of the 'Preservation and Transportation of the Mortal Remains' provisions, which were previously available only for the General Reserve Engineer Force (GREF) personnel of BRO, to CPLs, according to a statement by the Ministry of Defence. He also approved an increase in funeral expenses for CPLs from Rs 1,000 to Rs 10,000, to be borne by the government in the event of the death of any CPL on government duty at BRO projects, when the last rites are performed at the worksite, the ministry added.
Casual Paid Labourers (CPLs) employed by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) for road construction in India's forward and border areas now have access to government-funded transportation of mortal remains to their native places. Earlier, this facility was only provided to General Reserve Engineer Force (GREF) personnel. CPLs, despite working under similar tough conditions and adverse climates, were denied this benefit. In case of their demise, the responsibility of transportation cost fell on the grieving families. The financial strain often made it difficult for these families to conduct the last rites, denying them the opportunity to pay tribute to their kin who served the nation. This new provision aims to alleviate this burden and ensure a proper farewell for the CPLs who lose their lives in service.
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