Chennai| The Tamil Nadu State Construction Workers Welfare Board is fully prepared to bear the expenses of the vaccination campaign of laborers across the state. The welfare board has a cash surplus of Rs 3,000 crore, which is collected as one percent cess from project sites across the state. It is noteworthy that about 12.13 lakh workers are registered with the Labor Welfare Board of Tamil Nadu, which is half of the total labor population of the state.
Several studies have shown that construction workers are one of the most vulnerable groups to be infected by the COVID-19 virus. These usually include laborers from Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
A senior labor department official told that the department has already placed an order for 2 lakh doses of Covid-19 vaccines to the Tamil Nadu State Medical Services Corporation.
According to sources in the labor department, they had earlier conducted a vaccination campaign in association with Greater Chennai Corporation as construction workers were considered vulnerable and were vaccinated on a priority basis. Sources said that around 3,500 construction workers were vaccinated during this campaign in collaboration with the Greater Chennai Corporation.
With the short supply of vaccines, camps opened in Chennai and other cities in the state are beginning to shut down. Industry and trade unions have suggested to the Labor Department that this money with the Labor Welfare Board should be used for the vaccination campaign.
The department is now intensifying the vaccination campaign among workers and laborers in Tamil Nadu before workers from North India return to the state. CREDAI officials said that they are conducting awareness campaigns among the laborers and telling them how to avoid getting infected themselves.