A large amount of money is being spent for salaries of the staff and maintenance of Lalmonirhat Labour Welfare Centre, but labourers are not getting any benefit due to lack of welfare activities there.
Dispensary Assistant (DA) Moksedul Haque said the centre was established on one acre of land in College Road area in Lalmonirhat town in 1984 for the welfare of labourers, especially free medical treatment and medicine.
The building was used as administrative office of the local administration till 1995 and then it was used as office of the District Diabetic Association till 2007. The building remained abandoned from 2007 until 2010, when the centre took possession of it and posted a night guard on deputation from Rangpur Welfare Centre.
Five of 12 staff were posted to the centre in April this year, but there is no work for them. They come to the office only to sign the attendance register.
The posted staff members are Labour Organiser Atiqur Rahman, Compounder Anowar Parvez, Office Assistant Tahezol Haque, and night guard Nazir Hossain, while the vacant posts are of medical officer, population officer, nurse, another labour organiser, another office clerk, an inspector and a cleaner.
“I am posted here but there is no work as there is no doctor or supply of medicine,” the DA said.
The labour organiser said labourers do not come to the centre as the services are not available. “Medical officer is the main post in the centre but the post has been lying vacant from the beginning, so there is no work,” he said.
“As there is no medical officer or nurse, I am idle here,” said compounder Anowar Parvez. “We don't know when we will be able to provide services to labourers,” he added.
Abdul Mazid, a labour leader at College Road, said labourers are upset as they never saw operation of the centre since the beginning. “This centre is for us but we are not getting services,” he said, demanding proper running of the centre.
General Secretary of Bangladesh Sangjukta Sramik Federation in Lalmonirhat Maniruzzaman Manir told this correspondent it is essential to run the centre properly as labourers cannot afford to get treatment in private healthcare centres.
“Female labourers especially have to face difficulties during pregnancy,” he said. “I contacted the authorities concerned several times in the last several years for full operation of the centre in the greater interest of labourers, but there was no response,” he added.
Deputy Director of Divisional Labour Welfare Department in Rangpur Md Sadequzzaman told this correspondent that the centre is not operational due to shortage of doctors and nurses. It will be fully functional in 2019 after recruitment of doctors and nurses, he added.