Past imperfect, future tense?
By C Shivakumar and Sangeetha Neeraja - CHENNAI
11th August 2012 09:19 AM
After a series of accidents in metro rail worksites, including one in which a worker was killed and six injured, safety has become one of the major concern for migrant metro rail workers who toil day and night to build 45 km of Chennai’s rail transport network, both underground and elevated, to ease congestion in the city’s busy roads.
“The work is risky and I always adhere to safety rules,” says Sonu Mandavi, a migrant worker from Chattisgarh at a metro rail site. Interestingly, he is unaware of any accidents that happened at other worksites. As he looks on to the cranes in the site near Koyambedu, which is lying idle due to safety audit being conducted by Chennai Metro Rail, he takes a deep breath and says that the safety at the worksite needs to be foolproof.
“I live in constant fear and at times have the urge to return home,” says the sole breadwinner and father of two children while talking about the risks involved in the work. But he is all praise for safety at his worksite.
Interestingly, most of the metro rail workers are from far flung places in Chattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Jharkhand. These employees are not the direct employees of the firms that have won plum contracts to build the city’s infrastructure. Instead they come under the control of sub-contractors who lease the jobs to another contractor to provide manpower.
“These contractors don’t come to us. We go to them as we are need of jobs,” says Ajay (name changed), a worker in another worksite. “They do get a cut from our salary as they also have to make profit,” Ajay reasons.
These workers are also cut off from the rest of the world. Their day begins at 8am and ends at 8pm. “I don’t know what happens outside,” says 22-year-old Anand Mandal from Chhatisgarh, who is paid Rs 180 per day. “Earlier, the work was tough but now it has become easier,” he says. All India Additional secretary of Nirman Mazdoor Panchayat Sangh Geetha Ramakrishnan told Express that the workers at the metro rail who are working for 12 hours are entitled to rs 250 per day. “The daily wage of Rs 180 is too less,” she said.
Some workers are the metro rail worksite at Pachayappa’s College still mourn the loss of their colleague. “The pain is always felt once you lose your colleague,” says a worker. While questions still remain unanswered to what caused the crane collapse, metro rail is trying hard not to compromise on safety. But workers feel safety reviews by officials from metro rail should happen on daily basis and not after an accident has taken place.
- You are aiming high, but beware of marketers selling you as an FMCG
- Deadly year for encephalitis feared in India
- A mobile phone for Kerala CM, finally
- India becomes Kenya's largest Asian trading partner
- Pakistan's Punjab government allocates millions for JuD centre
- Wedlock valid only if consummated: High Court
- Underworld has betting syndicates in vice-like grip
- NCRB report: 1,316 juveniles booked for rape last year
- Indian Coast Guards help rescue 26 crew from shipwreck near Yemen
- Army Major captures 'UFO' in Kerala
- Now pay less for roaming calls, texts
- Callgate: Doctors were prime target for Biju, Saritha Nair
- 73 dead, over 71,000 stranded as rains batter Uttarakhand, UP
- Congress raking up secularism issue to hide its failures: BJP
- Wedlock valid only if consummated: HC
- Prices of 348 drugs to come down drastically from May 15