"Bhaiya, They Killed Me": Workers Found "Dead" For Madhya Pradesh Scheme

Many labourers who are still working in the state capital Bhopal, however, have been found to be listed as "dead" on paper, documents show

The officials appeared to have targetted only those labourers whose wage diaries were inactive


Some labourers who are very much alive and working have been listed as dead to siphon off government money from a scheme in Madhya Pradesh, documents seen by NDTV show.

The Madhya Pradesh Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board gives Rs 2 lakh for funeral arrangement to families if a labourer dies at work or in an accident. Compensation is also given if a registered labourer suffers permanent or partial temporary disability due to a work-related accident.

Many labourers who are still working in the state capital Bhopal, however, have been found to be listed as "dead" on paper, the documents show. Some officials opened fake bank accounts in the names of these workers and made themselves nominees, after which the Rs 2 lakh aid was transferred.

Registered workers in every municipal body in Madhya Pradesh are eligible for this financial assistance.

Of 118 cases, 11 were of labourers who are alive.

Urmila Raikwar, who feeds a family of 12 members, some of them vegetable sellers in Bhopal's Chandbad neighbourhood, was shocked to see her name in the list of "dead" workers.

Documents seen by NDTV show Ms Raikwar "died" in June 2023 and her family received Rs 2 lakh. Not only this, the nominee was also in her own name.

"This paper says I am dead, and got Rs 2 lakh. But am alive, of course. I haven't got any money. It's surprising that even after my death on paper, my children should have got the money. They killed me bhaiya," says Ms Raikwar.

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There are countless other workers who don't know they are dead in the records kept for financial aid to their families.

Mohammad Qamar, who lives 3 km away from Chandbad, was also listed as "dead" and the money was released on June 21, 2023 to a nominee who has the same name.

"These papers say I am dead, that I have taken the money. The absurdity of a dead person being the nominee aside, I am actually standing here. Am surprised and shocked. I will file a report about these irregularities," says Mr Qamar.

The welfare board also gives an assistance of Rs 51,000 for marriage. Mr Qamar says he applied for it for his daughter a few years ago, but never got a rupee. "We get an assistance of Rs 51,000 from this card," he says, showing the card of a registered worker. "But I didn't get it. This is very sad. I can't give my documents to anyone now. I don't trust anyone with my documents," he says.

And then there are genuine cases of labourers who died in work-related accidents, but their families never got the money.

Leelabai, a resident of Bhopal's Jahangirabad neighbourhood, says someone withdrew the Rs 2 lakh she was meant to get after her daughter, who was a registered worker, died two years ago.

"After my daughter Mumobai died two years ago, suddenly some people from the municipal corporation came and started asking whether I have taken Rs 2 lakh from the scheme. We haven't got any money from anyone," she says.

"The municipal corporation says the money has been withdrawn in the name of our daughter. They are calling and harassing us every day. If we had given our names in any scheme, then our documents and signatures would be there," she says. "Show the papers to us. Why are we being harassed without any reason? We are already heartbroken after our daughter died," says Leelabai.

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In most of the cases, "e-payment orders" were found to be issued after 11 pm, and the copies of the death certificates were blurred. None of the identities have been linked with updated Aadhaar details. Even the Samagra IDs, an essential document issued by the state government, were created just before the "death" of labourers.

The officials appeared to have targetted only those labourers whose wage diaries, used to track payments, were inactive.

The workers board has helped over 61,200 beneficiaries in case of death, and released Rs 775 crore for funeral and ex-gratia assistance.

The Madhya Pradesh government told NDTV they will investigate the matter.

"If such a fraud has taken place anywhere, it will be investigated and strict action will be taken against whoever is guilty, no one in our government has the right to do such acts, There will be an investigation and the culprits will not be spared, we will not allow the public to be played with and this is the aim of our government," Deputy Chief Minister Rajendra Shukla told NDTV.