Press Trust of india

Death of labourers at BRO project sites: Govt to bear expenses for transportation of mortal remains

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New Delhi: The mortal remains of casual labourers of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) who die at work will be transported to their homes on government expense, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Sunday.

Singh made the announcement in a post in Hindi on ‘X.

The Defence Ministry in a statement earlier in the day said Singh has approved the extension of facility of preservation and transportation of mortal remains, available for General Reserve Engineer Force (GREF) personnel of the BRO, to casually paid labourers (CPLs).

Singh in his post said that the government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is “sensitive towards the welfare of all the workers”.

Keeping this in mind, it has been decided in the Defence Ministry that if workers engaged on a short-term basis die due to any reason during the construction work of BRO projects, then their mortal remains will be safely transported to their homes, Singh wrote in the post.

Expenses incurred in taking the mortal remains to their homes will be borne by the government. The amount to be spent on their funerals has also been increased, he added.

“We believe that the importance of those who work hard to build roads at the country’s border and in remote areas adjacent to them is no less than that of a soldier. Therefore this decision has been taken,” he said.

Singh has also approved an increase in funeral expenditure for the CPLs to Rs 10,000 from Rs 1,000, the ministry said in the statement.

This will be borne by the government in the event of a death of any CPL while on government bona fide duty at BRO projects, whose last rites are being performed at the worksite, it added.

“The CPLs are employed by the BRO for construction of roads in forward or border areas. They work hand-in-hand with the BRO personnel in adverse climates and tough working conditions, which sometimes results in casualties,” the statement said.

Until now, the facility of preservation and transportation of mortal remains to the native place at government expense was available only for the GREF personnel. The CPLs working in similar conditions were deprived of this facility, it added.

In case of their death, the burden of the transportation falls on the bereaved families. Due to lack of financial resources, the family of the deceased are unable to bear the expenditure of airfare or even transportation by road in most conditions.

A bereaved family often finds it extremely difficult to afford the funeral and other related expenditure, the ministry said.

In such circumstances, the next of kin or legal heirs of the deceased CPLs do not get a chance to pay tribute by way of performing the last rites of their kin, who have laid down their lives for the cause of the nation, it said.

The defence minister while visiting forward BRO worksites had witnessed the difficult working conditions of the CPLs. He was solicitous about their welfare and had directed the BRO to craft appropriate welfare measures for them, the statement said.

These new welfare measures will go a long way in enabling the bereaved dependents to perform decent last rites for their loved ones, it added.

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