Noida: Old labour cess bills rile house owners, notices served to 1,500

July 7, 2022

Noida: Old labour cess bills rile house owners, notices served to 1,500NOIDA: House owners across residential sectors in Noida have started receiving bills from the labour department, charging 1% cess for building and renovation work dating back to as far as 2009. The department is issuing the notices based on its 2017-18 GIS survey and subsequent construction worth assessments. It started sending the bills in large numbers recently only, since the new commissioner took charge.

So far, the labour department has sent nearly 1,500 notices to people in the district to recover the cess. Some residents who had made renovations worth Rs 4-5 lakh years ago said the department has pegged the worth at Rs 40-50 lakh and charged the bills accordingly. A Sector 52 resident received such a notice on June 27, 2022, saying, “A GIS survey conducted in 2017-18 found that you had constructed your house in 2012-13, and the estimated project cost is Rs 41 lakh. You are expected to pay Rs 41,000, which is 1% of the total cost, as labour cess.”

The property owner said it also said that if he failed to pay the cess, the department would charge a penalty equal to the labour cess, along with a 2% monthly interest.

The labour department collects the cess as per Section 3 of The Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Cess Act, 1996.

Subhas Chandra Yadav, the assistant labour commissioner, Noida, said that a central government Act mandates the labour cess. “The UP government had formed its rule, according to orders to the state governments. The cess collection started from February 4, 2009. All properties developed after that date need to pay the labour cess,” he said.

The commissioner said the labour department had engaged a firm to conduct the GIS survey of Noida properties. “They have submitted a report to the labour department. We are sending notices to the property owners based on the survey report,” he said.

The labour department also verifies details like the property date of completion, covered area, floor area ratio, etc., with the Noida Authority.

“We then consider the PWD guidelines to calculate the estimated construction cost in any year and levy labour cess accordingly. However, if the property owner says the figures mentioned in the notice are incorrect, we verify their documents or approved maps and charge the cess accordingly,” the commissioner said.

When asked why the cess collection got delayed, the commissioner said that the collection pace was slow, and they have expedited it after the GIS survey report. The money collected through cess gets used in various social security schemes for labourers.

Sanjeev Kumar, the general secretary of Sector 51 RWA, said that some residents of his sector have also received the notices. “Some people who have developed their houses ten years ago are getting the notices now. The department calculates the labour cess on the entire cost of construction, but justifiably, it should be calculated only on the labour cost element,” he said.

PPS Nagar, an advocate who deals in sale deeds of properties, said that the labour department should collect labour cess at the time of construction. “It is not good to collect the cess after five-ten years. In some cases, people sell their properties. It will be difficult for a new owner to pay the labour cess,” he said.

Nagar also added that the labour cess collected by the department does not reflect in the labour welfare scheme in the district.

Swatandra Kumar, the financial controller of Noida Authority, said that for the last three years, the Authority has made labour cess payment mandatory at the time of plan layout approval.

“The map is not approved if the owner does not pay the labour cess. The labour department may be collecting the pending labour cess from earlier,” he said.

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