Labour welfare centre hardly benefits stakeholders

The set-up at Saidpur runs without doctor for seven years; training scanty; no recreational facilities
Sram Kalyan Kendra in Saidpur municipality under Nilphamari district no longer attracts the target people as the government-run centre, meant for providing medical, training and recreational facilities for the working class people, can hardly arrange the services. PHOTO: STAR

Services of government-run 'Sram Kalyan Kendra' (labour welfare centre) in Saidpur upazila under the district remain virtually elusive to the beneficiaries for years.

Unlike other years, the centre under the Ministry of Labour and Employment has not arranged any programme marking the May Day today due to 'fund constraints'.

Now labourers and workers seldom come to the centre, said sources.

Set up in 1980-1981 fiscal year in a two-storied building at Bangalipur under Saidpur municipality, the centre is meant for providing different training programmes, medical treatment, cultural and indoor games facilities, reading facilities in library, etc, for the working class people in the area.

In Saidpur, there are around 20 thousand workers engaged in Saidpur Railway Workshop, BSCIC Industrial Estate, private owned small engineering factories, transport sector and other trades.

Visiting the centre on Thursday noon, it was found that seven officers and employees were engaged in gossip in a relaxed mood but no labourer was present there.

The medical centre, auditorium, reading room, indoor games and cultural room etc were covered with dust, showing that those were unused for long.

Recreational items including the 24-inch TV, musical instruments like harmonium, flutes, tabala etc are out of order and indoor games tools are broken and unusable.

"There has been no medical officer or physician at the centre since 2008 and so, poor labourers and workers are deprived of free medical services," said Shahinur Islam, labour welfare organiser of the government's labour directorate.

As per rule, three week-long awareness building training programmes have to be arranged in a fiscal year but only one such programme, that too with allegedly inadequate arrangements, has been held so far during the current fiscal year that ends in June.

Shahinur could not show any workers' attendance register at the centre. He could not even provide any official statistics about the number of workers engaged in different trades in the area.

Mahbub Rashid, secretary of Saidpur unit of rickshaw-pullers' union, said most of his colleagues do not know about the existence of such a centre, and those who know do not feel interested to visit there as there is no free treatment and recreational facilities.

Akhtar Hossain Badal, president of district unit of motor drivers and workers' union, said the centre remains open from 9:00am to 4:00pm when most of the workers are too busy to go there.

Abul Bashar, assistant director of labour directorate in Rangpur, said process is on to appoint a doctor at Saidpur 'Sram kalyan kendro'.

He claimed that programmes other than medical facilities are being run regularly  at the centre.


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