Labour commissioner orders stop work after safety, environmental violations found during inspection following death of worker at site
The incident occurred at the DPS building construction site. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
The Labour Department has issued a stop-work notice for the construction of the new building at Delhi Public School (DPS), Nerul, due to the death of a worker at the site, caused by negligence. A workers’ union had complained to the labour commissioner about the sorry state of affairs at the construction site which led to a surprise inspection that revealed flaws at the site. Activists have also alleged that untreated wastewater from the site is released into a nearby lake which serves as a habitat for flamingos.
Around 2.30 pm on August 21, carpenter Anishkumar Kashiprasad, 22, fell from the 4th floor of the under-construction building. He sustained injuries to his head, chest and stomach and was rushed to the nearest hospital where he succumbed to injuries. Based on his cousin’s statement, the NRI Coastal police registered an FIR under IPC Section 304A (causing death by negligence) against the contractor Nisar Salim Sheikh for not providing any safety gear to workers. The construction of the school is being carried out by New Home construction company.
A labour camp built on forest land
Following the death, the Prahar Labour Union wrote to the labour commissioner and the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation about the construction site being hazardous to not only workers but also students studying at the school and the ecology of the surroundings.
Chandrakant Utekar, Thane district president of Prahar Labour Union, said, “The death of the worker was caused by negligence of the contractor, but why is the school not concerned about the safety of its students? There is no safety net which can catch debris or workers, while safety lines and life lines which would prevent the entry of students to the construction area are also missing. On the day when I visited, students were playing football near the site.” Utekar further stated that the labour camp has been set up by illegally encroaching forest land and untreated wastewater is released in the nearby creek.
The contractor didn’t install safety nets around building
Following the complaints, officials from the Labour Department visited the school premises on August 24 and inspected the entire construction site, after which a stop work notice was sent to the contractor as well as school officials due to flaws in their standard operating procedure. The notice sent from the deputy labour commissioner’s office stated: “During the visit, we didn’t find adequate security net, security line or life line. It’s a violation of the Maharashtra Building & Other Contraction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Rules, 2007, Sections 205 and 206, which deal with safety net and safety belt.”
The inspection revealed that the construction site is not the ideal place for work and in fact, is a health hazard for workers. Work can not commence until the contractor complies with the rules and rectifies issues that came to the fore during inspection. Labour Department Inspector Santosh Gosavi confirmed the development. “We have served a notice on the basis of our findings. When the contractor approaches us after rectification of the flaws a re-inspection will be done, after which we will allow work to commence,” he said.
Channel created to release wastewater into creek
Pravin Khedkar, Navi Mumbai president of Prahar Labour Union, said that apart from safety guidelines being flouted at the construction site, there are other violations as well. “The untreated sewage from the site is released directly into the nearby pond which is habitat for flamingos. Hundreds of bird-watchers visit the place and the very bird has become the identity of the city. But still, Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation officials have turned a blind eye towards the issue,” he said. mid-day tried to get in touch with DPS through calls, messages and email but didn’t receive any response.