As the air-conditioned Metro is being given its finishing touches, labourers reveal the hardships they go through
Some 300 labourers are toiling day in and day out to meet the deadline for the ambitious Metro project that will be inaugurated on October 20, but authorities fail to comprehend the problems of these dedicated workmen. The authorities have provided workmen with 50 small 10x10 rooms using tin sheets that are constructed on an open land opposite the Byppanahalli station.
Helpless: The labourers working on the Metro railway project are living in 10x10 tin roofed shanties located near a garbage dump. Pic/ Satish Badiger
The area that was initially used to dump garbage, is now reportedly flooded with water stagnating for days together, leading to illnesses, even as garbage continues to be dumped nearby.
Deepak Kumar (38), a labourer who brought down his entire team from Bihar, three years ago, is disappointed with the paltry sum he receives. The labourers are paid Rs 220 for 10 hours of labour. Kumar stays with about four other labourers and cooks for them as well.
"Every other day one of my men fall sick, but how can we get him treated when we are paid so little? The sahibs at the station do not accept any excuses, they pay us Rs 220 per day for ten hours of slogging. Right outside our tin sheds, garbage from the entire area is dumped. With this space constraint, we also have to stock the remaining material from the construction site. We have families back in Bihar that need to be fed as well," said Kumar.
When questioned if they faced similar situations at other construction sites, even as others hushed him, Damjee Kumar said, "We have seen all conditions, there are people who have accommodated us in good homes with basic essentials, but what can we do, we are very poor. If we raise our voice, the sahibs would line up 100 other people who would want to take our place. So we manage."
When MiD DAY contacted BMRCL officials, an engineer who refused to divulge his name, said, "What is wrong in this area? It might not be too hygienic, but these labourers have lived in worse conditions."