Ernakulam District Panchayat to form labour cooperative society for execution of works

The Ernakulam district panchayat is in the process of forming a labour cooperative society that will prioritise the timely execution of its works at a reasonable cost and with superior quality.

The proposed society, ELCOS (Ernakulam District Labour Cooperative Society), which found a mention in the district panchayat’s Budget for 2024-25 and for which an initial allocation of ₹1 lakh was made, is likely to take shape in the first quarter of the next fiscal. It will be set up as a subsidiary of ‘V for U’, another society comprising all 27 members of the district panchayat to be registered soon with an exhaustive list of objectives.

“The district panchayat executes on an average over 600 public works by tendering them to contractors during a financial year. A recurring issue we have noticed is that the very same set of contractors undertake most of the works of all the other local bodies in the district. So, often many of our works don’t get executed timely and get completed as spill over works in two or three years. Besides, the quality of work also remains much to be desired as contractors are often profit-driven,” said a senior official with the district panchayat.

ELCOS is viewed as a win-win situation for both the district panchayat and workers. It will enable workers to undertake works on their own without the involvement of contractors guaranteeing them both profit share and wages.

The district panchayat will benefit from the timely execution of works, which will have to be prioritised by ELCOS. It will also enable the district panchayat to undertake works, which may otherwise be not possible under the formal set up. Better supervision of the works by officials of the district panchayat is also expected to ensure improved quality.

The district panchayat governing committee will be part of the governing body of ELCOS along with representatives of workers. “ELCOS will be formed in a few months’ time since workers will have to be registered. Once formed, it will be empowered to undertake works straight away. Being its subsidiary, ‘V For U’ will help the society mobilise the initial capital funding,”said the official.

Plans are also afoot to find employment avenues for youngsters through the society as part of the district panchayat’s budgetary proposal of encouraging students aged over 18 years to do part-time work along with studies.

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